Physical Therapy

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Physical Therapy
A physical therapy modality is a method, device or substance used to treat a disorder that is normally addressed in a physical therapy clinic or office. There are a variety of treatment modalities that can help strengthen, relax, and heal muscles. Below are a few of the treatment modalities physical therapists used daily in the practice.

Ultrasound machines are a treatment modality used by physical therapists that utilize high or low frequency sound waves. These sound waves are transmitted to the surrounding tissue and vasculature. They penetrate the muscles to cause deep tissue/muscle warming. This promotes tissue relaxation and therefore is useful in treating muscle tightness and spasms. The warming effect of the sound waves also cause vessel vasodilatation and increase circulation to the area that assists in healing. The physical therapist can also adjust the frequency on the machine to use waves that will decrease inflammation

Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation uses an electrical current to cause a single muscle or a group of muscles to contract. By placing electrodes on the skin in various locations the physical therapist can recruit the appropriate muscle fibers. Contracting the muscle via electrical stimulation helps strengthen the affected muscle. The physical therapist can change the current setting to allow for a forceful or gentle muscle contraction. Along with increasing muscle strength, the contraction of the muscle also promotes blood supply to the area that assists in healing.

Mechanical Traction
Traction is a modality (treatment activity) sometimes given by physical therapists, chiropractors and other spine specialists to their patients. The purpose of traction is to apply a force that draws two adjacent bones apart from each other in order to increase their shared joint space. Traction also stretches the soft tissue that surrounds the joint. Traction may be given manually, by means of a device or via positioning.

Hot Packs
Physical therapists wrap moist hot packs in several layers of towels and place them on the area that needs treatment. The heat provided by the hot packs has several important benefits. It eases tight muscles allowing tissues to relax. This decreases pain caused by muscle tension or spasms. It also causes vasodilatation of the blood vessels which increases circulation to the area. Patients with muscle strains, spasms, or arthritis often benefit from treatment with moist hot packs.

Cold Packs
Cold Packs are a frozen gel substance used by physical therapists to treat areas of pain and inflammation. The cold packs are wrapped in wet towel and applied directly to the area in need of treatment. The cold transferred to the patient's skin, muscle, and tissue has several beneficial effects. The cold temperature causes vasoconstriction of the blood vessels in the area. This decreases the inflammation in the area. By decreasing inflammation, pain and swelling are decreased.

Phonophoresis is an ultrasound modality which utilizes anti-inflammatory medication in conjunction with soundwaves to decrease pain and swelling. Used mostly over joints to decrease symptoms from tendinitis, bursitis and other inflammatory conditions.

Therapeutic Massage
The therapeutic benefits of massage have long been recognized to be a valuable component in promoting an individual's overall health & wellness. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has proven to be beneficial for a number of chronic conditions, including lower back pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, depression, and the overall negative effects of stress. Additional benefits of massage therapy also include: Encourages relaxation, Improves posture, Improves circulation, Relaxes muscles, Relieves headaches, Strengthens immune system, and Enhances post-operative rehabilitation.

Hydrotherapy is probably one of the oldest forms of therapy known to man. Whirlpools, water spas, swimming pools, and even the bathroom tub are all forms of hydrotherapy.

In a professional setting (e.g. physical therapy department), the water temperature and agitation (speed at which the water moves) is set to fit the patient's needs. Warm water increases blood flow and cold slows circulation. Hydrotherapy is used to relax tense muscles and to relieve pain and swelling.

Gentle water exercises using the resistance of the water can help build strength and flexibility. Some people with arthritis exercise in the water.

Fluidotherapy is a superficial heat modality consisting of a dry whirlpool of finely divided solid particles suspended in a heated air stream. The mixture has the properties of a liquid. Use of fluidotherapy dry heat is an acceptable alternative to other heat therapy modalities in reducing pain, edema, and muscle spasm from acute or sub-acute traumatic or non-traumatic musculoskeletal disorders of the extremities

Infrared healing treatments are offered by several methods and may improve circulatory processes, diminish pain, control spasmodic muscles, diminish stiffness in muscles and joints, and alleviate sore and tender muscles. These treatments help control painful conditions such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions associated with chronic and/or acute pain. Infrared healing treatments are offered in some hospital settings, in some short-term and long-term nursing homes, by physical therapists, and you can also get equipment for infrared healing treatments at home.

TerraQuant Laser Therapy
The goal of laser therapy is to deliver light energy units, in the form of photons to damaged cells. The consensus of experts is that photons absorbed by the cells through laser therapy stimulate the mitochondria to accelerate production of ATP. This biochemical increase in cell energy is used to help transform live cells from a state of illness to a stable, healthy state. Laser therapy is commonly used to increase the speed, quality and tensile strength of tissue repair, resolve inflammation, and provide pain relief. Laser therapy has been found to offer superior healing and pain relieving effects compared to other electrotherapeutic modalities, especially in the early stages of acute injuries, and for chronic problems. Laser therapy can also be used for acupuncture point stimulation. Laser therapy is a universal method of treating muscle, tendon, ligament, connective tissue, bone and skin tissue with one simple piece of equipment, however, the best results are achieved when it is used to compliment other manual therapy techniques. It is non-invasive, drug-free, pain free and of short duration-usually 2-5 minute per treatment.