Common Physical Therapy Methods Explained
Specialized medicine is increasingly being sought after by people as they are targeted towards the ailment and help to recover soon. Physical therapists are specialists who help in treating bruises, bursitis and other bodily and movement conditions that arise from injury, for optimal functioning of the body.
Assessment of your condition
Before your treatment begins, your physical therapist will conduct a thorough examination in order to assess your condition and the treatment methodology to be used. Detailed questions about the origin of the injury, and the effects of it are asked. Once the therapist is equipped with the knowledge, he will plan your treatment. Generally the treatment begins with passive modalities such as ice and heat packs, laser and electrical stimulation. Further into the treatment manual therapy for restoring tissue function is applied such as stretching, exercise and massage. The length of treatment varies from person to person, depending upon the gravity of your injury.
The next step after assessment is treatment; some of the most common physical therapy treatment methods are explained below.
Heat: Heat packs are best used for treating injuries involving muscular spasm and tightness. Heat application helps in decreasing pain and increasing mobility after injuries caused to the soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons and muscles. This therapy makes the muscles more pliable and easy to stretch.
Ice: Ice is usually used for injuries that involve swelling and inflammation. It constricts the blood vessels upon application thus reducing as well as preventing inflammation. This therapy also makes the joints more mobile.
Ultrasound: This therapy is best used for connective tissue injuries. Sound waves, which are undetectable to the human ear, generates heat deep into the body, this helps to loosen up tissues and prepare for manual therapy. A wand is used by the therapist that applies sound waves directly into the skin. Upon this application, the tissues and muscle feel the heat and loosen up, making it easy to exercise.
Low-Level Laser: Under this therapy, specific wave-length of light is used to stimulate healing. It is best used for connective tissue or muscular injuries. The laser wave are applied well below the skin, thus the skin does not get affected by it. It helps to reduce muscle fatigue, pain and inflammation. It also aids the therapist in easy movement of the affected joints without causing discomfort to the patient.
Electrical Stimulation: This is a common treatment procedure for restoration of muscular function, especially after the patient has met with a traumatic injury. Small and steady electrical stimulation causes contractions of the muscles, which may remain dormant otherwise. This helps in proper movement and faster function, than relying on exercise alone. Although Electric Stimulation may not be applicable on all injuries, it has shown to be effective for speedy recovery from ACL and total knee replacement surgery. Research also indicates its effectiveness in restoration of function in hemiplegic patients.
Traction: The body weight is entirely bared by the spine when we stand; this makes it difficult to recover from back pain and related difficulties. Traction helps to separate the vertebra in order to create more space for the nerves; this avoids further compression of the cartilage. This is a very good treatment for those patients suffering from herniated disc. Also, since no surgery is involved, there is no need for long recovery periods.
Exercise: We hear countless benefits of exercising, right from losing weight to increasing mobility. Physical therapists too swear by its effectiveness: it is the best strategy to prevent as well as treat pain. But physical therapists do not suggest any common exercises, instead they hand pick specialized ones that will help patients in better movement and flexibility of the limbs. These exercises are particularly targeted towards strengthening muscles and addressing muscular imbalances if any. Physical therapists also reinforce the importance of exercise especially to those who have a sedentary lifestyle leading to various aches and pains.
If you are suffering from any pain due to injuries, it is advisable to visit a physical therapist for further treatment options. You can ask your primary healthcare physician for referrals. Physical therapy is a great alternative to surgeries and medicine in many cases.