The immediate effects of passive joint mobilisation on local muscle function. A systematic review of the literature.

Review written by Robin Kerr info

Key Points

  • There had been only one prior systematic review that summarised reported effects of spinal mobilisation on muscle function.
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Manual therapy (MT) that includes passive joint mobilisations has come under increasing scrutiny over the last few years, with accusations of MT being high cost and low value therapy (1,2). Passive joint mobilisations are routinely employed by physiotherapists to increase function and reduce pain. Their effectiveness to improve muscle function has only been examined by one previous systematic review (3). The aim of this systematic review was to assess the immediate effect of peripheral and spinal passive joint mobilisations on the function of muscles surrounding the targeted joints, in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. An additional objective was to correlate reported changes in muscle function with alteration of symptoms.

Manual therapy has come under increasing scrutiny over the last few years.
Unfortunately we still do not know much about how passive joint mobilisation seems to help patients.


The systematic review (SR) followed PRISMA guidelines and the protocol was specified in advance with Prospero. Cochrane handbook protocol for SRs was used. In total, 10 studies involving asymptomatic individuals and 7 studies involving symptomatic individuals were reviewed. The specific

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