Osteopathic Joint Articulation
Human joints bear considerable forces resulting from the day-to-day activities of daily living. Our joint tissues help the body to protect against and withstand these forces. When these tissues are stretched due to movement and stress, they undergo an elastic phase of deformation. However, if the tissues are stressed beyond the greatest capacity of the elastic phase, this leads to the plastic phase of deformation.
The plastic deformation of tissues in the joint often causes a number of problems, these include tissue thickening, a tear of the tissue, loss of tissue elasticity, shortening of the tissue, joint stiffness and a loss of range of motion in joints.
Healthy movement through the joint tissues can assist in tissue repair and recovery. This healing mechanism of tissues is thought to promote by a process known as mechano-transduction, any of various mechanical and structural cues that encourage cell behaviour. Joint articulation techniques can influence the this process, enabling the patient to return to normal physical activity.
The early, accurate application of these techniques can aid the damaged tissues and structures of the joints by:
Encouraging faster tissue repair and recovery.
Promoting healthy cellular homeostasis.
Reducing musculoskeletal pain and discomfort.
Increasing joint movement by stretching fibrous tissue and affecting the stretch reflex excitability.
Increasing the vascular circulation in and out of the joint.
Improving structural stability and integrity of the intervertebral disc.
Preventing degenerative changes to the articular surfaces.
Inhibiting the build-up of fluid and distension forces upon the tissues and joint.
Aiding the removal of metabolic waste products.
Influencing the sympathetic nervous system activity, thus affecting blood flow, blood pressure, heart rate or respiratory rate.
Spinal Manipulative Techniques
Typically, treatment plans involve some forceful and less forceful spinal adjustment techniques during the same visit or over the course of treatment.
The most frequently used technique, spinal manipulation, is the traditional high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust. The manipulation often results in an audible "pop," as therapists use their hands to apply a controlled sudden force to a joint while the body is positioned in a specific way.
Some conditions, pathology, the patient's size, patient comfort, or patient preference, may require a gentler approach generally referred to as spinal mobilisation. In addition, some patients and/or clinicians prefer mild spinal mobilisation techniques that do not involve twisting of the body or a forceful thrust.
In addition to manipulation, other physical modalities will be employed as part of an overall treatment plan. Patients should discuss their symptoms and preferences, so we determine the best course of treatment.