- Cold agents are used as first-aid after trauma and as an adjunct tool for rehabilitation of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions. It has been an age-old remedy for pain relief, fever reduction and control of bleeding. More recently, it has been applied to reduce edema from trauma, decrease inflammation, soreness and muscle spasm before and after exercises.
- Cold may be delivered through a number of agents to achieve a common goal. These are: cold/ice packs, ice massage or ice cubes, cold compression devices, cold baths and vapocoolant sprays.
- This is an adjunct to physical therapy treatment with the application of electrical current directly to an affected area in the body with the purpose of decreasing pain, increasing muscle function, swelling reduction and improving local circulation. Different modes of current are used to stimulate a muscle that has been injured, reduction of swelling after surgery and alterating pain sensation in order to allow return to regular daily functioning.
- Electrical Stimulation can also be used to deliver medications or other chemicals to a localized part of the body without the use of a needle, which is non-invasive.
- Heat is associated with tranquility and relaxation. It has been used for pain relief and reduction of muscle spasm. In physical therapy, it has been used not for just these reasons but also to increase blood flow, facilitate tissue healing and prepare stiff joints and tight muscles for exercise.
- There are many heating agents available for physical therapy. These generally fall within one of two broad categories: superficial and deep-heating agents. Superficial agents causes increase in skin and subcutaneous tissue temperature. These are hot packs, paraffin wax, and Fluidotherapy. If the goal is to heat up deeper tissues, then deep-heating agents are rationally selected. Deep heating agents include shortwave diathermy and therapeutic ultrasound.
- Ultrasound is commonly used in rehabilitation as an adjunct in the management of various soft tissue dysfunctions, including joint contracture, scar tissue, tendinitis, bursitis, skeletal muscle spasms, and pain. It can also be used to enhance absorption of topical medications (phonophoresis). It uses sound waves to produce both thermal and non-thermal effects on the different tissues of the body. The vibrations produced by these sound waves can cause increase in tissue temperature and promote mechanical movement of fluids.
At AAA Physical Therapy, our physical therapists use these modalities as an adjunct to treatment in order to promote pain-free range of motion and restore full functional capabilities.