Physiotherapy is known for giving patients exercises as well as using techniques on the patient in order to rehabilitate a condition. Mulligan is an Australian (don’t judge him!) orthopaedic manipulative physiotherapist, has evolved these techniques by combining them to treat certain conditions.
Mulligan techniques can be applied to all joints, although the types of joint will determine the type of technique. It is usually applicable to a joint when there is pain through movement.
NAGS (Natural Apophyseal Glides) are applied to the intervertebral joints of the spine. A glide will be applied to that joint with the patient in sitting or standing. Mulligan argued that treating in a weight bearing position was more functional than lying down.
SNAGS (Sustained Natural Apophyseal joint Glides) are the same as NAGs except you will move your spine into the painful movement as the physio applies a glide to the joint.
MWM (Mobilisation with Movement) apply to all other joints of the body. The therapist will apply a pressure to the joint while you perform the painful movement.
Mulligan uses the theory that, as one part of your joint moves, it also needs to glide in order to remain congruent with the other part. He suggests that the pain may result due to abnormal alignment/gliding of the joint (i.e. it may be slightly out of line as it moves), and the aim of his techniques is to correct the bony fault/ movement of the joint.
The most important aspects of Mulligan’s techniques is that you should feel no pain, the techniques are graded according to your pain and amount of movement, and that the technique should result in immediate results!