Therapeutic modalities are effective addition to physical therapy treatment. Knowledge of the healing process is critical in the use of these treatments. A variety of modalities can be utilized by including cryotherapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, moist heat, and traction.
TENS: Transcutaneus electrical neuromuscular stimulation (TENS) is a physical therapy modality used to manage acute and chronic pain in physical therapy. Your PT will use TENS to decrease your pain by applying electrodes to your body over painful areas. The intensity of the electricity will be adjusted to block the painful signals traveling from your body to your brain.
Iontophoresis: Iontophoresis is a type of electrical stimulation that is used to help administer medication to you in physical therapy. The electrical current pushes various medication in through your skin and into your body. Your PT will likely use medicine to decrease inflammation or muscle spasm, or Iontophoresis drugs can be used to break up calcium deposits that may occur in conditions like shoulder calcific tendonitis.
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES): NMES uses an electrical current to cause a single muscle or a group of muscles to contract. By placing electrodes on the skin in various locations the physical therapist can recruit the appropriate muscle fibers. Contracting the muscle via electrical stimulation helps improve the way your affected muscle contracts. The physical therapist can change the current setting to allow for a forceful or gentle muscle contraction. Along with increasing muscle function, the contraction of the muscle also promotes blood flow to the area that assists in healing. NMES can also be used to help decrease muscular spasm by artificially tiring your muscle in spasm, allowing it to relax.
Ultrasound: The application of ultrasound waves to soft tissue to heat and relax injured tissue and disperse edema
Moist Heat: the use of hot water, towels soaked in hot water, aquathermia pads, hot water bottles, or hot water vapors to reduce inflammation and pain, stimulate circulation, and/or relieve symptoms as directed by a physician.
Cervical Traction: is a common nonsurgical treatment for a herniated disc in the neck that relieves pain by opening up the cervical foramen to reduce pressure on compressed nerve roots exiting the spinal canal.
Lumbar Traction: is a form of decompression therapy that relieves pressure on the spine. It can be performed manually or mechanically. Spinal traction is used to treat herniated discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, and many other back conditions.