HVLA

Part of a DO physician’s training is learning how to use OMT, or osteopathic manipulative treatment. It’s basically a skill set that DO’s use to fix and restore motion to dysfunctional parts of the musculoskeletal system. There are a bunch of different ‘types’ or ‘classes’ of OMM:

1.) muscle energy
2.) myofascial release
3.) counterstrain
4.) high-velocity-low-amplitude (HVLA)
5.) craniosacral
6.) lymphaticย  techniques

We’ve learned a lot so far in our OMM class. I’m a little skeptical about some of the techniques we’ve learned- especially the lymph ones. But other techniques, like sacral diagnosis and treatment, actually relieved low back pain when I tried it on people over winter break. Pretty neat.

My class and I aren’t usually super into OMM, but we were all excited for last week’s lab because it would be the first time we were going to be learning an HVLA technique. Some of us have seen demos of this before: the DO basically has the patient all twisted up like a pretzel and then delivers a quick force over a short distance to the joint(s). You hear a couple of loud pops and everyone lets out a surprised, “Oh!”. So we were excited. And scared, of course. This is what I imagined would happen to my partner:

peter-snaps-his-neck-o

The faculty guided us step-by-step to make sure we did everything right and had the set-up correct before applying the death blow. Er, force.

Part of the set-up involves having your patient roll closer to you. The professor leading the demo referred to it as a barrel roll. He would say, “Okay, so what I’m going to do now is have the patient barrel roll towards me”

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

starfox-64-3d-do-a-barrel-roll-screenshot

If you got that reference, we can probably be friends.

It actually took a lot of effort for me to keep a straight face while he kept saying “Do a barrel roll” to the demo patient. A lot of my classmates picked up on it and posted a similar Starfox screenshot to our Facebook group, giving it the title, “All I heard in OPP lab today”. My classmates are awesome.

We all successfully learned the technique. My back actually felt a little bit looser, so that’s good. And thankfully, no one was permanently disabled.

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