What are the different physical therapy treatment options? Before delving further into this, it is worth having basic knowledge about this kind of treatment. Physical therapy is a specialization in rehabilitative health that treats conditions or injuries, as well as, physical dysfunctions and with the help of equipment, various modalities, or specially designed exercises. It helps to reduce swelling or pain, and facilitate or restore function and mobility. Some of the conditions for which it can be beneficial are:
- Back pain
- Neck injuries
- Hip or shoulder pain
- Sports or work related injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
- Knee or shoulder pain
Physical Therapy Programs Incorporate a Wide Range of Treatment Options
After a detailed examination, your physical therapist would give you a customized treatment plan. Any of a number of possible options may be incorporated into your rehabilitation program:
- Manual Therapy – It involves therapeutic healing with the hands rather than with machines or devices so as to reduce pain, relax the muscles, improve circulation, or increase flexibility. Mobilization pushes, pulls, twists, and moves joints and bones into position thereby improving muscle, joint, and ligament movement. Massages help to alleviate pain through the application of hand pressure to the soft tissues of the body. Manipulation resembles mobilization, the difference being faster and more forceful movements to get the joints and bones into position.
- Ultrasound – Ultrasound is a kind of heat treatment (thermotherapy). It is beneficial in repairing damage to soft tissues and also for healing painful conditions. It utilizes high-frequency sound waves, the heat of which helps the healing process, reduces inflammation and swelling, and enhances blood flow to the problem area.
- Cold Therapies – Ice packs help to bring down swelling, muscle pain, inflammation, and spasms by slowing circulation in injured or diseased areas of the body.
- Hot Therapies – These treatments bring nutrients and enhance blood flow to the soft tissues for relaxation and healing benefits. They are administered in the form of gel pads or heat packs.
- Cervical Traction – Traction gently widens the neck, opening the areas between the cervical vertebrae. It also temporarily eases pressure on the affected discs.
- TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) – This is a non-invasive and passive modality involving the sending of electric current in a transcutaneous manner (through the skin) to particular nerves. The heat generated by this mild electrical current helps to relieve acute and chronic pain, relieve stiffness, and improve mobility.
- Exercises – Physical therapy exercises improve a patient’s balance, strength, mobility and range of motion, flexibility, and co-ordination. The exercises suitable for you can be any of various kinds such as stretching, weight lifting, and isometric exercises.
- Myofascial Release – It is a specialized therapy for people with soft tissue problems and involves stretching of the fascia. Fascia is a tissue that covers all muscles and all fibers within a muscle. An injury to a muscle fiber causes shortening and tightening of the surrounding fascia and fibers. This irregular stress is transmitted by way of the fascia to other areas of the body. As a result, the person gets pain and other symptoms. Myofascial Release relieves the irregular rigidity in the injured fascia to treat the symptoms.
You can get more information about the different physical therapy treatment options from the individual practitioner who is treating you. As mentioned before, a recovery plan would only be started following a detailed examination of your condition and for this purpose the results of MRI and other diagnostics would be analyzed.