History of Spinal Mobilization
The earliest practice of manual therapy dates back to Hippocrates in 460 B.C.. Spinal mobilization as a physical therapy technique became widely accepted in the early 1950′s. One of the most eminent manual therapists at that time was Geoffrey Maitland, PT. As taught by Maitland, spinal mobilization, not to be confused with manipulation, is a passive movement through the range of motion of the spinal or vertebral articulation. Today his and other manual techniques have become an important part of the curriculum in most schools of physicians and physical therapists.
The Advanced Spinal Mobilization Instrument (ASMI)
The Advanced Spinal Mobilization Instrument was designed to act as an extension of the hand, combining precise mobilization with infinitely variable control. Unlike the hand, however, the instrument was developed to deliver treatment for a longer period of time, more powerfully and at much quicker speeds than an individual practitioner could ever hope to achieve manually.
The handset incorporates four pads powered by variably controllable electro-pneumatics. These pads operate in opposing pairs and are spaced so as to align with the vertebrae. The treatment is delivered in three modes, a spasm mode, a reflex mode and the mobilization mode. Each mode is used throughout the treatment depending on the patient’s condition as determined by the practitioner.
As represented in the illustration to the left, the ASMI is used to apply pressure to the diagonally opposite transverse processes of neighboring vertebrae. The condition of the joint determines the response to the applied effort. Initially the joint may be fixed or out of alignment. The goal of the treatment is to restore alignment, flexibility and mobility to the joint and restore the para vertebral muscles that support and stabilize the spine .
The specially design, touch sensitive handset enables practitioners to feel movements of the individual vertebra. It is important to note that this treatment is impossible to do manually because the spinal joints are bigger and tougher than the practitioners hands. There are many treatments available for back pain yet the problem persists because most treatments target the symptoms and not the root of the problem. Practitioners can work on the entire spine to ensure it is all working as it should and this is achieved in 5- 10 sessions on average which means patients can get back to LIVING A PAIN FREE LIFE.
A Unique Treatment
Treatments are performed with patients lying prone or face down on a specially designed treatment table. A SPASM mode always begins and ends a treatment, relaxing the patient and acclimating them prior to the beginning of the treatment.
In the REFLEX mode the alternating pads provide short taps to the paravertebral muscles. These muscles run parallel to the spine from the base of the skull to the tailbone, and provide stability and support the spine at rest and during movement. The Reflex mode stimulates the muscles of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbosacral paravertebral muscles that may have been shut off due to injury, poor posture, or inactivity.
The third and therapeutic phase of the treatment is the MOBILIZATION mode. Gentle force is applied by the handset applicators that applies pressure to the alternating transverse processes of adjacent vertebrae (see AB model). This produces a counter rotational movement of each vertebral pair and increases the mobility and alignment to the spine. This mobilizing movement allows the body to release it’s natural synovial fluid to each facet joint (the same fluid found in your knee or elbow joint) Skilled practitioners will recognize resistance of stiff or immobile joints and will focus on returning mobility and flexibility to these joints throughout the use of this mode. Treatment sessions lasts for approximately 20-30 minutes, alternating between the Reflex and Mobilization modes, and finishes with the Spasm mode.
The ASMI can assist in the treatment of pain and dysfunction associated with: