According to Fit and Health the primary goal of physical therapists is to restore proper function to human bodies. Physical therapists repair limited range of motion, weakness, and improve coordination. Several techniques and strategies are applied that include stretching movements and exercises. Physical therapists also use promedxpress modalities, like heat, cold, electrical stimulation, or low level lasers on a patient’s body to produce a desired result.
Heat packs are commonly used by physical therapists to increase blood flow to an injured area, which helps bring additional nutrients and oxygen to damaged tissues to enhance healing. Heat also relaxes tense muscles and sometimes ultrasound is used for deep heating purposes. Low level lasers are now commonly used as an alternative way to promote blood circulation.
Ice packs or cold treatments are used for two main reasons, to reduce pain and to restrict blood flow to an injured area. Restricting blood flow helps to keep swelling in check because it limits fluid buildup. Ice packs or gels are commonly used to apply the ice, and there may be times when the therapist gives the patient an ice massage.
Another modality commonly used by therapists is electrical stimulation. This treatment can be used to reduce pain and helps re-educate muscles after a surgery by contracting affected muscles. Electrical current is applied through adhesive electrodes to the patient’s skin. Receptors within the skin are then stimulated which override pain messages sent to the brain from an injury.
Chiro.org says many people confuse modalities, procedures and therapies. Modalities can be described as applying a physical agent to a human that produces therapeutic changes to tissues, including sound, light, mechanical or electrical energy. Therapeutic Procedures are defined as a means to affect change by applying clinical skills to improve a human function, requiring direct patient interaction. Therapy is a general term used to describe all medical procedures including procedures and modalities.
Yorkvillept.com states modalities relieve pain, increase circulation, reduce swelling and muscle spasms. There are many additional modalities than previously mentioned, and include ultrasound, phonophoresis, electrical stimulation, iontophoresis, traction, Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation, moist heat, cold ice, paraffin and whirlpool.
Phonophoresis makes use of ultrasound to deliver medications through the skin. Cortisone and xylocaine are commonly administered using this method to treat heel spurs and tendonitis. Iontophoresis uses electrical stimulation to deliver modifications into the skin to treat scar tissue, inflammation, and to reduce calcium deposits.
Transcutaneous Nerve Stimulation is a small device that is worn by the patient to reduce pain. Low voltage electricity uses electrodes to deliver electrical current to reduce pain, and this can be implemented by the patient to subside pain as needed throughout the day.
Paraffin is a heat device that uses wax and mineral oil to deliver heat to an injured body area. It is usually applied to the feet or hands which can be difficult areas to apply heat to. A whirlpool has the patient submerge the injured body part into water, and the water can be hot or cold. The water is agitated to provide a massage like motion or feeling. Traction is a modality used to treat lower back and neck pain. To use traction you are strapped into a machine. Traction separates the joints and disc spaces which lessens pressure on spinal nerves. As a result pain is reduced.
Finally, physical therapists reduce pain and restore function to human bodies. They use modalities to aid in their quest to improve patient’s lives. They use modalities, or hot, cold, electrical stimulation or lasers to produce a desired result such as relieving pain or reducing swelling in patients.