Joint mobilisation is a type of passive movement of a skeletal joint with the aim of achieving a therapeutic effect.
Joint manipulation is a type of passive movement of a skeletal joint, using high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) thrusting manoeuvres. It is usually aimed at one or more 'target' synovial joints with the aim of achieving a therapeutic effect.
Joint manipulation is characteristically associated with the production of a ‘pop’ or ‘click’ sound. This sound is believed to be the result of a phenomenon known as cavitation. When a joint manipulation is performed, the applied force separates the articular surfaces of the joint. This deforms the joint capsule and intra-articular tissues, which in turn creates a reduction in pressure within the joint cavity. In the low pressure environment, some of the gases that are dissolved in the synovial fluid create a bubble or cavity rapidly collapses upon itself, resulting in a ‘clicking’ sound.
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