Physical therapy is critical for successful recovery from injuries, surgery and physical ailments that render the parts of the body to become weak or immobile. Without physical therapy, other uninjured parts of the body can become strained and injuries don’t heal completely. A variety of physical therapy techniques, alone or combined, are used to ensure recovery.
Although technology offers a variety of physical therapy treatments, manual therapy always plays a role in recovering from an injury or surgery. This includes common techniques such as massage, stretching, strength training with a physical therapist and an exercise program developed by a physical therapist. Manual therapy helps stimulate muscles, allow joints to regain mobility and strength, and helps the body become active more quickly.
Hot and Cold Treatments
The simple application of heat or ice on an injury can assist in healing. Heat is used for muscles that are tight or spastic, while ice helps reduce swelling or inflamed joints and muscles. Both treatments allow muscles and joints to become more mobile and flexible, which home health experts say enables the patient to continue physical therapy. This works by reducing pain while the patient works to strengthen body parts, muscles and connective tissue.
For those who suffer from a herniated disc in the back, traction can be a good alternative, allowing patients to avoid painful back surgery and a long recovery. Traction allows the discs in the back to separate, and stops the compression of discs and cartilage, which is very painful. Back pain can immobilize some individuals and cause further injury to other muscles and joints. By reducing the pain of herniated discs, patients can move more freely and not compensate for the back pain.
Ultrasound, Low-Level Laser and Electrical Stimulation
Three technologies are used to assist in the healing process of injuries or surgical procedures. Low-level laser is used to stimulate muscles or connective tissue, reducing inflammation and promoting the healing process. Ultrasound generates heat and works deep in the connective tissue, preparing it for manual physical therapy. Electrical stimulation helps restore muscle strength after an injury by stimulating muscles to contract and release, preparing them for normal function again.
Many of those suffering from a debilitating injury or general pain don’t realize the importance of physical therapy for a full recovery. Without physical therapy, muscles, joints and connective tissue never recover fully, which can result in additional injuries and weakness of the body part that requires healing. Not only do primary care physicians recommend physical therapy, which is generally covered by health insurance, new laws in many states allow patient direct access to physical therapy without a referral from a physician.