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Maitland Approach

The Maitland approach is a physiotherapy technique that addresses physical pain and stiffness. While all Aligned Orthopedic & Sports Therapy therapists use concepts from the Maitland approach, many have chosen to undergo additional training to earn their Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist (COMT) and become fully certified in the Maitland approach. Continue reading to learn more about this physiotherapeutic technique and how it can help you return to your favorite activities.

What Is the Maitland Approach?

The Maitland approach is a manual therapy diagnostic tool using varying mobilizations of the spine, peripheral joints and other parts of the body to allow for more free movement. This approach uses passive and accessory movements within a controlled environment to learn your limitations and slowly stretch past them. Therapists also teach muscle stretching, stabilization techniques and other exercises to allow you to continue progress at home.

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How Does the Maitland Approach Work?

The Maitland approach uses five levels — or grades — to determine joint mobility. These include:

  • Grade one: Small joint movements beginning within the joint’s limitations.
  • Grade two: Larger joint movements that are still within the joint’s limitations.
  • Grade three: Large movements working slightly past the joint’s resistance.
  • Grade four: A small movement into the joint’s resistance at the end of the tissue’s limitations.
  • Grade five: A high-velocity controlled movement with low aptitude thrust at the end of the joint’s resistance. This grade is only done if the patient’s condition allows it.

These levels are determined based on the severity of the patient’s condition and the therapist’s intended purpose. 

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Who Can the Maitland Approach Help?

Anyone who is experiencing joint pain and stiffness can benefit from a Maitland approach to treatment. Your physiotherapist will create the most effective treatment to help you, depending on your condition’s severity.

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Maitland Approach

Benefits of the Maitland Approach

The Maitland approach has demonstrated several benefits for those seeking relief in their joints, including:

  • Improve range of motion: The grades — or joint mobilizations — can help decrease pain or make general movement much easier. Specifically, grades one and two are used for pain relief, grades three and four help increase joint motion, and grade five can provide pain relief and increased motion.
  • Offer quicker relief: Each of the varying grades provides another level of relief as the technique continues. This compounding method can lead to much quicker ease and flexibility.
  • Increase mobility: A study using the Maitland approach assessed how participants’ neck pain affected their daily life. This assessment was taken before and after treatment, noting reduced scores and higher functioning in those who used the Maitland approach.
  • Treat the root of the problem: This manual therapy uses holistic techniques to target the pain at the affected joint, not just manage symptoms.

Maitland Approach Therapy in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

At Aligned Orthopedic & Sports Therapy, our team is trained in the Maitland approach and can walk you through personalized treatment with exceptional evidence-based care. As the leading provider for outpatient orthopedic physical therapy, we have the experience and resources to aid your recovery — whether you are visiting us after surgery or for a sports injury. Find a clinic location near you to get started.

Clinics That Utilize The Maitland Approach

Maitland Approach

AOST @OrthoBethesda

10215 Fernwood Road
Suite 303
Bethesda, MD 20817


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Maitland Approach

Schedule Your Maitland Approach Appointment Today

If you are interested in learning more about how utilizing a Maitland approach in therapy can benefit your condition, you can contact Aligned Orthopedic & Sports Therapy today. We look forward to helping you reach your mobility goals.

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