Wellness Osteo

Wellness Osteo

At Wellness Osteo, we are osteopaths who focus on achieving optimal health and wellness, which means treating you and sharing our expertise with you. Read on for the ins and outs of osteopathy.

Blog

What is HVLA or joint "cracking"

wellness osteo richmond cremorne neck pain sciatica HVLA manipulations

What is joint cracking?

 

HVLA, or high velocity low amplitude, is a manual therapy technique used by all kinds of different allied health professionals including Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Osteopaths.

 

What is the noise you hear when you “crack” a joint?

The aim of a HVLA technique is to elicit a “cavitation”, the popping noise we hear in our joints. This noise is simply a rapid formation and release of gas bubbles in our joint fluid. 

This is achieved by placing the joint under certain tensions in specific positions, then a controlled force is applied to create a cavitation. 

 

Why do you use HVLA techniques? 

Cavitations, briefly increase joint range of motion and decrease pain in the area. 

The decrease in pain and increase in movement helps to improve the overall function and movement of that joint. Greater function leads to more efficient movement and more confidence in motion. This is why HVLA is at its best when coupled with other techniques such as massage, mobilization and exercise rehabilitation; as each technique coupled together gives you a little more symptom relief and a little more confidence.  

 

Is HVLA safe? 

As osteopaths, we study for years in order to master and implement this technique safely within our practice. But, just like every manual therapy technique there are some risks, and HVLA is no exception. 

These risks include fractures, vascular complications or neurological complications (compression of nerves). These complications can also arise from normal neck movements and trivial trauma, not only manipulations. It is more likely for these to occur in sporting activities over professional manipulations.
Properly trained osteopaths will thoroughly screen you for any dysfunction or disease that can lead to complications before performing this technique, and if any are found, will choose one of the many other Osteopathic techniques instead.
Systematic reviews have been conducted that showed risk is low with manipulation, in circumstances where patients were properly screened and practitioners appropriately trained.

 

Common Myths about HVLA


1. Cracking is where you can move a joint or bone around a structure and “put it back in place” This is simply untrue as nothing has been “realigned” it is merely gas bubbles forming and releasing. 

2. Cracking your fingers leads to arthritis. There is no evidence that repetitive cavitation can lead to degeneration in the joints. So that rumour of cracking your fingers repetitively and you will get arthritis is a lie!

 

Can I avoid HVLA in an Osteo treatment? 

Absolutely, At Wellness Osteo we will discuss your treatment plan with you prior to beginning treatment. This involves a thorough informed consent process, to make sure you are understanding and willing to go ahead with all the techniques. If you don’t feel comfortable with HVLA or any technique we may use, be sure to tell your practitioner as we can always find another way to help you achieve your goals.