There are several common physical therapy techniques that benefit patients long-term. Physical therapy can make all the difference in a person’s life. Through hands-on training and educating their patients on how to ease pain, move their bodies properly or even learn how to use assistive devices such as cane, dedicated physical therapists like Alex Klurfeld are making a difference in their patients’ lives. But what are some possible treatments and what do they offer, and how can they help you in your daily reality?
Heat and cold temperatures can do wonders for your body when applied to your muscles in physical therapy. Sometimes, physical therapists will end each session with both for patients to relax muscles. Heat targets tight and tense muscles. It can also treat spasms to help relieve pain and increase mobility.
Applying heat can also cause tissue to be more pliable, making it easier to stretch ligaments and tendons.
On the other hand, ice reduces inflammation and swelling. In acute soft tissue injuries, an icepack can constrict blood vessels. Both hot and cold therapy are helpful tools in a physical therapist’s toolkit.
Special exercises targeting weak muscles or an imbalance in muscles is one of the first tools your physical therapist may use. Why? Simply because exercise is a proven technique in physical therapy. You may even hear a few interesting titles referring to specific exercises. For example, the Open Book focuses on the lower lumbar region of your back. It can help treat lower back pain.
Similarly, Bridges help strengthen your core, back and help your hips as well. If you’re struggling with hamstring issues, you could be instructed on how to perform a hamstring stretch. Physical therapy is a fantastic resource for exercise, from stretches, using dumbbells, or utilizing other exercise machines.
Manual therapy is often considered the foundation of physical therapy treatment. Manual therapy involves a physical therapist using their hands to perform methods that can ease the pain. These techniques include different means but include mobilization, massage, manipulation, and strengthening exercises.
Manual therapy is one of the first documented forms of physical therapy. It has a long track record of success.
Water therapy is a very successful way for patients to relieve pain. Performing exercises in the cushion of water removes a lot of the pressure on joints that otherwise may be there with land exercises. Aquatic therapy also can help patients improve their balance. Relaxing tense muscles, reducing discomfort and overall strengthening muscles are all positive aspects of aquatic therapy. Ask your physical therapist if aquatic therapy may be a good fit for you.
Using low-level lasers to generate wavelengths of light, physical therapists may utilize laser therapy to stimulate healing. It targets pain, muscle fatigue, and inflammation and can treat discomfort during manual joint manipulation, another helpful technique used in physical therapy.
Electrical stimulation, also known as ESTIM, is a common technique physical therapists use in pain management. Electrical stimulation involves electrodes placed on the skin around a painful area like the lower back, and an electrical current is applied. After certain surgeries and traumatic injuries, ESTIM can assist in restoring function and movement. It can also aid in contracting dormant muscles. Talk to your physical therapist about whether or not electrical stimulation should be added to your physical therapy treatment plan.
With this physical therapy method, your physical therapist will use a wand to apply certain high-pitched sound waves that promote circulation. During this, heat is generated and penetrates deep within connective tissues. In other ways, like phonophoresis, ultrasound enhances the delivery of topical medications such as cortisone or xylocaine. Ultrasound is especially useful in speeding up the healing process in ligament injuries.
Traction is a form of decompression therapy that may benefit some patients to alleviate pressure on the spine. Traction is a spine-strengthening technique that aids in straightening the spine and increases healing without surgery. If you are up against conditions that impact the back, such as herniated discs, pinched nerves, sciatic and degenerative disc disease, this therapy is one you should ask your physical therapist about.
Education is an essential component in any physical therapy treatment plan. Physical therapy is a team effort, and that team is made up of caring medical professionals and the patient themselves. The patient is their biggest ally in healing their body. With the support of a dedicated physical therapist, a physical therapy patient receives instruction on daily exercises to perform independently. By teaching them during sessions, this promotes overall recovery but also prevents injury. A physical therapist has a critical role as a teacher as well as a helper. From instructions on properly performing an exercise to showing a patient how to use crutches or a wheelchair, education is a vital aspect of the physical therapy experience.
If you are a pulmonary or cardiac patient, physical therapy can help you by building strength. A physical therapist can assist you in learning special breathing exercises that will do just this. Diaphragmatic breathing, for example, is a deep breathing exercise that is intentional. When you breathe through the nose, it will strengthen your diaphragm and allow the nerves to relax. You can do this sitting, laying on your back or stomach, or standing. Then there is pursed-lip breathing. This involves inhaling slowly through your nose and then exhaling through your pursed lips. This is particularly helpful if your pulmonary issues cause inflamed airways that stop air from circulating properly through your lungs. Utilizing breathing exercises is a common way physical therapists can help you.
During a session, you can always expect a professional, knowledgeable, and thoughtful physical therapy team by your side. Alex Klurfeld brings both education and care to your sessions. After a thorough assessment, problem areas are noted, goals are set, and an individual patient care plan is set into motion. You can rest easy that your care is the priority.