Hot Packs/Cold Packs
Hot packs provide superficial heat that helps to decrease stiffness, pain, increase blood flow to specific areas of the body and promotes muscular relaxation. Cold packs are applied to help decrease local temperature and may be applied in acute trauma and subacute injuries to help alleviate pain and inflammation, as well as decrease edema.
This is the application of inaudible acoustic vibrations that can penetrate into the soft tissues up to 3-5 cm . The physiological effects of ultrasound include but are not limited to : increasing blood flow, helps soft tissue healing, remodeling of scar tissue joint contractures, helps chronic inflammation, burn healing, pain reduction, provides deep heating, and promotes decreases in swelling.
Electricity is used for pain relief, decreases in swelling and for muscular re-education. There are various 'types' of electrical stimulation that can be applied such as T.E.N.S. (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), russian stimulation for muscular re-education, and hivolt stimulation to assist areas in the body where nerve innervation has been compromised.
The use of external pressure in conjunction with cold to decrease swelling and pain. For example, after a knee surgery a patient may have his/her leg put in a 'boot' that fills with a mixture of antifreeze and water. This liquid is chilled to 40-50 degrees F and the pressure in the boot can vary from 10 to 180mm Hg. This is helpful for decreasing inflammation and pain and improving range of motion.
Traction (Cervical / Pelvic)
A distraction of force applied to the spine in a manner that would separate or attempt to separate vertebral bodies and lengthen spinal structures.
A superficial heating agent, a paraffin wax bath, that is most often used for extremities including the fingers, hand, wrist, elbow, toes, foot, and ankle. This treatment is often used for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, burn scars or a non-fragile, skin grafted area. Paraffin wax allows for application of heat at a higher temperature than water without the risk of a burn and allows for an even distribution of moist heat with temperatures from 113 to 129 degrees.
A dry heating agent that transports heat to your hands, fingers, or wrist/forearm/hand complex and also to the foot or ankle complex and uses convection to raise the skin temperature. This produces a physical effect similar to the whirlpool, except it provides a dry heat environment using finely shredded corn husks warmed to a temp. of 102 to 122 degrees F.
This is the use of a small direct electrical current to administer an anti-inflammatory preparation such as dexamethasone sodium phosphate to the affected area without puncturing the skin. This is used to decrease inflammation, pain, reduce edema, treat wounds and infections, and decrease swelling in scar tissue and adhesions. This remains a popular choice for patients who are apprehensive about receiving injections
This is very similar to iontophoresis except instead of an electrical current, ultrasound is used to deliver medications applied on the skin and to the targeted tissues. This also is used to treat pain and inflammation in underlying surfaces of the body.
This is used to increase muscle activity to facilitate a stronger contraction, or reeducate a muscle through holding a specific function, or decrease muscle activity to facilitate relaxation, or decrease spasticity. This is achieved with EMG (electromyography) biofeedback.
This is a technique that uses electrical impulses to treat certain 'trigger points'. These points are often muscular in origin and respond well to a certain level of stimulation to promote relaxation.
High energy light has been used in physical therapy for some time. Infrared lasers (non-heating) have effects at the cellular level including increases in blood flow and vasodilation which promotes tissue healing.
This can be an effective treatment depending on how acute the injury is. Cold whirlpools can help with decreasing swelling, and pain whereas hot whirlpools are often used to promote increases in active range of motion and to decrease joint stiffness.
Wound Care Debridement
Whirlpools are often used in order to 'loosen up' tissues that need to be removed so that proper healing can take place. 'Debridement' is just a fancy word for removing dead, necrotic (rotting) tissue. This is done to promote proper tissue healing.
T.E.N.S. (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
The use of electrical stimulation in order to decrease muscular pain. This works on the 'pain gate theory', basically stating that the nerve can be stimulated at a certain level to promote relaxation and eventually 'block' the pain coming from the sore areas. These units can be rented or purchased depending on the length of time needed.
E.M.S. (Electrical Muscle Stimulation)
This is the use of electricity to promote muscular contraction. This is often used to re-educate muscles after injury or surgery. These units can be rented or purchased depending on the length of time needed.