Physical therapists make use of a number of treatment modalities to achieve the best possible outcomes. The type of treatment prescribed and carried out by the physical therapist, takes into account the patient's goals and prior level of function. Treatments to address pain may include physical agent modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and hydrotherapy as well as various forms of soft tissue massage, joint mobilization, muscle stretching and joint manipulation. Exercise forms an important part of nearly all physical therapy rehabilitation programs.
By using the modalities mentioned above and several other treatment techniques, we aim to relieve pain and help our patients regain full functional movement and strength. Physical therapists have a large knowledge base of treatment techniques and exercise programs. Some of these will be dealt with in greater detail in the pages following. A few of these treatments may not be part of some physical therapy clinics’ treatment modalities, however your physical therapist can refer you to someone who can help you if a specific type of treatment not on offer with them is recommended for your recovery.
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In this section
The word acupuncture comes from the Latin word for needle (acus) and it means "puncturing of bodily tissue for the relief of pain". Read more →
Exercise is essential to recovery from sports injuries, following surgery, after an acute trauma, in the management of acute and chronic low back pain, neck pain and headaches and in the treatment of arthritis and osteoporosis. Read more →
Ice therapy (cryotherapy) is the use of ice in the treatment of acute and chronic injuries. Read more →
Interferential therapy is a type of TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) which has two alternating currents that are applied to the skin. Read more →
When a physical therapist manipulates a joint, it means we take the joint to its end of range and then we perform a quick thrust movement to which takes the joint past its normal range of movement. Read more →
Joint mobilization is a "hands on" physical therapy technique commonly used in a clinical setting to improve the range of movement of a joint in order to lessen stiffness and pain. Read more →
Lumbar stabilization involves strengthening your core stabilizing muscles to protect the spine from injury and prevent low back pain. Read more →
Massage therapy, which physical therapists commonly refer to as soft tissue therapy, is a popular treatment choice in many clinical settings. Read more →
Muscle energy techniques are osteopathic techniques used by physical therapists to assess and correct asymmetry and dysfunction in the body. Read more →
Pilates exercises have been simplified and broken into stages and have become a major tool used by physical therapists to treat shoulder, spine and hip injuries. Read more →
Athletes regularly perform exercises to maintain or improve strength. Read more →
Therapeutic exercise is a form of bodily movement aimed at correcting a physical impairment, restoring normal function and promoting a state of well being. Read more →
An ultrasound machine, which is very commonly used in physical therapy, works by using high frequency sound waves (that can't be heard by the human ear) to effectively treat deep tissue injuries. Read more →
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