Massage Therapy and Joint Play

One of the many tools that Massage Therapists in B.C. are given is joint play. Very often this is used in dysfunction in later stages when immobility of a body part is involved and the respective joints proper function is affected. An example is Frozen Shoulder when the joint at the arm bone to the shoulder blade function is reduced in a predictable pattern.
What the Therapist is involved in is a technique to encourage movement within the joint that emulates the actual joint movement that is lacking. This treatment is usually grouped with treatment to the surrounding musculature and connective tissue in the area that may be involved with the dysfunction. Joint play is graded from 1 – 5 in intensity. A chiropractor generally adjusted at a grade 5 level and a massage therapist can apply a grade 1 – 4 with a sudden movement of the joint or a sustained stretch of the joint and the joint capsule. This can be applied to many joints from the small joints of the fingers and toes to the knees, hip, elbow, shoulder complex, vertebrae of the spine or jaw.
Joint play in an oscillating movement or traction to a joint is a great way to bring nutrition into a joint and help to relax the surrounding muscles.
Joint play is an important treatment modality as if there is an immobile joint, there will generally be a joint with extra movement in the area putting stress on that surrounding musclulature causing pain and spasm.
Joint play is all about helping to gain movement in the area, followed by strengthening of the surrounding muscles to help to support the joint and all the movements it is involved in.
Lack of function of a joint can affect the Kinetic Chain involved in a movement. Bringing your arm to the side of your body involves many muscles and 4 separate joints generally. the Kinetic chain is the sequence which certain muscles must fire to move the joints in a peticular sequence during the movement.
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