Most commonly applied treatments:
- Moist Heat/ Cold Therapy
- Electric Stimulation
- Therapeutic Ultrasound
- Manual Therapy
- Static and Dynamic Exercises
- Gait Training
- Home Care
Moist Heat/ Cold Therapy
Moist heat is used for warming parts of the body in order to manage pain. Localized application of heat causes the blood vessels in that area to dilate, enhancing perfusion to the targeted tissue.
Many episodes of pain come from muscle exertion or strain, which creates tension in the muscles and soft tissues. This tension can constrict circulation, sending pain signals to the brain. Heat application eases pain by:
- Dilating the blood vessels surrounding the painful area. Increased blood flow provides additional oxygen and nutrients to help heal the damaged muscle tissue.
- Stimulating sensation in the skin and therefore decreasing the pain signals being transmitted to the brain.
- Increasing the flexibility (and decreasing painful stiffness) of soft tissues surrounding the injured area, including muscles and connective tissue.
Cold therapy is a treatment of cold temperatures to an injured area of the body. An ice pack is placed over an injured area and is intended to absorb heat of a closed traumatic or edematous injury by using conduction to transfer thermal energy. The physiologic effects of cold application include immediate vasoconstriction with reflexive vasodilation, decreased local metabolism and enzymatic activity, and decreased oxygen demand. Cold decreases muscle spindle fiber activity and slows nerve conduction velocity, therefore it is often used to decrease spasticity and muscle guarding. It is commonly used to alleviate the pain of minor injuries.
Electric StimulationElectrical muscle stimulation is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses. The impulses are generated by a device and delivered through electrodes on the skin in direct proximity to the muscles to be stimulated. The impulses mimic the action potential coming from the central nervous system, causing the muscles to contract. The electrodes are generally pads that adhere to the skin.
Therapeutic Ultrasound in physical therapy uses the alternation of compression and rarefaction sound waves to penetrate ligaments, tendons, and fascia.
Therapeutic ultrasound has two types of benefits: Thermal effects and non thermal effects. Thermal effects are due to the absorption of the sound waves. Non thermal effects are from cavitation, micro-streaming and acoustic streaming. Cavitation effects result from the vibration of the tissue causing microscopic air bubbles to form, which transmit the vibrations in a way that directly stimulates cell membranes. This physical stimulation enhances the cell-repair effects of the inflammatory response.
- Modulating pain
- Increasing range of motion
- Reducing or eliminating soft tissue inflammation
- Inducing relaxation
- Improving contractile and non-contractile tissue repair
- Facilitating movement
- Improving function
Static and Dynamic Exercise
Static exercise, also known as isometrics, exerts muscles at high intensities without movement of the joints. Static exercise improves strength, but it also drives up blood pressure in an instant.
Dynamic exercise activities keep joints and muscles moving. Blood circulation, strength, and endurance are improved by these continuous movements.