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Physical Therapy Instrument Mobilization (PIM) is an innovative concept that involves mobilizing your spinal and peripheral joints via a mechanical spring loaded instrument according to physical therapy principles. Physical therapy Instrument Mobilization is a safe, measurable, and extremely effective joint mobilization technique provided by specially-trained physical therapists. Despite the Physical Therapy Instrument Mobilization instrument looking similar to the activator instrument used by some chiropractors, its actual use does vary significantly. Physical Therapy Instrument Mobilization use strictly follows the physical therapy model of spinal and joint mobilization rather than the chiropractic activator philosophy. In short, a PIM-trained physical therapist will treat you differently based on what physical therapists strongly believe is a superior rationale. The development of the Physical Therapy Instrument Mobilization (PIM) concept is based on longstanding orthodox articular physical therapy and osteopathic approaches. These including Kaltenborn’s Nordic concave-convex methodology, Maitland’s combined movements, Mulligan’s concepts of mobilization with movement and positional faults, plus Osteopathic upslope/downslope or Type I or II dysfunction methodology. PIM is an approach that works extremely well when it is incorporated with other evidence-based treatment tools in your physical therapist’s multi-system clinical approach. Physical Therapy Instrument Mobilization assessment utilizes physical therapy palpation skills, neural tension testing, and neurological testing to apply mobilizing and manipulative techniques along clearly defined treatment planes with greater reliability, specificity, and safety than other manual techniques. Australian physical therapists have found that Physical Therapy Instrument Mobilization provides excellent outcomes for the TMJ, headaches, vertigo, neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow and shoulder pain, and foot pain such as plantar fasciitis just name a few. If you haven’t tried a Physical Therapy Instrument Mobilization treatment approach and you are still suffering pain, we recommend that you seek the advice of a PIM-trained physical therapist to see if they can assist you. PIM is especially wonderful in handling back pain and neck pain and speaking to at PT at Buffalo Back and Neck Physical Therapy can help you determine if your condition will benefit from this treatment.  It uses a high velocity thrust combined with a lower force than manual manipulation – which means that it is gentler and less painful than some other interventions! It also means that we don’t need to crack or crunch your joints. Instrument adjusting is rare in physical therapy but we believe it provides the benefits of added safety while at the same time expanding the treatment options available to us. Because of the high velocity and lower forces generated with instrument mobilizing, the manipulation is more comfortable for the patient. This equates with less muscle and joint soreness during and after treatment.  Older individuals with osteopenia / osteoporosis in many cases cannot be treated safely and effectively with manipulation due to the risks involved. The PIM technique is far safer and easier to apply and gets rapid results. It allows for a more accurate dosage and direction, which leads to measurably better outcomes for the patient. Many people are not keen on being pushed and pulled around by a physical therapist – this is a way to get “manual” therapy with a bit less handling! Children find it fun and less threatening than many of our other techniques and it’s easier for your PT’s thumbs!


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