A physical therapist assists in reducing pain and improving your overall mobility. Liberty Physical Therapy is one of many reputable clinics your physician may recommend if you suffer from any type of musculoskeletal trauma or have dysfunction with movement, to have physical therapy. The symptoms you suffer can range from mild to the point that they severely impede your capacity to be functional in your activities of daily living.
Common Modalities and Treatment Options With Physical Therapy
Physical therapy comprises a multitude of various treatment options to assist in achieving your goals. Modalities may be implemented to alleviate pain and inflammation while exercises assist with strength, endurance, and general range of motion. The therapist will create a customized treatment plan for your specific needs. The therapist will go over the plan with your initial evaluation to explain why these techniques were chosen and what you should expect from each.
As a tool to improve the range of motion, flexibility, and strength, this is controlled physical stress that is applied to the body. In passive exercise, the therapist applies the stress, e.g. with hamstring stretches the leg will be lifted as a means to elongate the hamstring muscle. Active exercise is performed using your power as with the treadmill or with straight leg raises.
Whether you attend therapy in a hospital, in the home setting, or an independent clinic, exercise will likely be a part of your treatment plan to aid with mobility. There will be instruction for a home-exercise program that you will be encouraged to do on your own.
Ultrasound is a method of treating with deep heat. It’s used for a vast array of musculoskeletal conditions including tendinitis or sprains/strains. An ultrasound machine is fitted with a wand known as a ‘sound head’ which the therapist presses to the skin moving in circular motions near the injured site. The ultrasound waves are absorbed into the skin by way of gel applied to the wand.
** Electrical Stimulation and the TENS Unit
The transcutaneous electrical stimulation or TENS and electrical stimulation are used with physical therapy as a way to reduce pain surrounding the injured tissue. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation or NMES is another method that assists injured muscles in learning how to function again. Go to https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/electrothermal-therapy to understand electrical stimulation.
Low back pain and neck pain benefit from traction as it alleviates pain and improves spinal mobility. In using lumbar traction, there is a mechanical machine that you are strapped into with a vest that assists in supporting the ribs. The pelvis is supported by a device as well. There is a mechanical force applied using a machine.
With cervical traction, you are either lying down or sitting. If you are seated, there is a harness attached to your head. To this, there is a pulley system used with a weight that provides the traction force.
When you lie down on your back, there is a particular device that straps to your forehead with a pneumatic pump providing the traction force to the neck.
In theory, it is noted that traction assists in separating the disc and joint spaces within the low back or neck which reduces the pressure on the spinal nerves. Read here to learn details about using physical therapy as part of your treatment program.
In massage, the injured tissues are kneaded with the hands to aid in the reduction of pain, to decrease muscle tension, and to improve circulation. There are a few different massage techniques used within the specialty including trigger point massage
Hot packs or moist heat may be applied to the skin if there is an injury. The heat assists in increasing the circulation surrounding the injured tissues, provides pain relief, and helps to relax the muscles. Hot packs in physical therapy are sand, clay, and silica-filled cloth sack that absorbs the hot water. The pack is applied to the skin after it has been wrapped in terry cloth and towels, usually remaining in place for up to 20 minutes.
Ice or cold packs can also be used in instances of injury to assist in decreasing pain and controlling the inflammation. This treatment is typically used during the initial onset of injury to limit the swelling around the tissue. Cold packs remain in place for up to 20 minutes. As with heat, care is taken to prevent skin damage from becoming too cold.
Every clinic has its specific go-to techniques and great physical therapy practices are always looking for the latest methods to improve the patient outcome and increase clinic efficiency.