Modalities are a variety of treatments that can aid in the physical therapy plan of care. These include such agents as moist heat, cold therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, mechanical traction, vasopneumatic compression, and electrical stimulation. While modalities alone do not get our patients back to their best, they can be a useful tool to make the treatment program easier to perform. Every one of our clinic locations offers each of these types of modalities:
Moist heat – Heat therapy can be utilized to help reduce pain, increase blood flow, and decrease muscle tension/tone. It can often be used along with electrical stimulation for significant pain relief.
Cold therapy – Also known as cryotherapy, cold can help reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. It is also used often in conjunction with electrical stimulation.
Therapeutic ultrasound – Ultrasound can be used by physical therapists to provide several therapeutic benefits. It can be performed to provide heat to deeper tissues than superficial heat to improve blood flow to assist in healing. It can also be utilized to assist in reducing inflammation to those deeper tissues. Ultrasound can also be utilized in conjunction with electrical stimulation to also provide pain relief and reduce muscle tension.
Mechanical traction – Traction is utilized to provide decompression to the cervical and lumbar spine. It can help reduce pain and muscle tension and alleviate the impingement of nerves created by several spine conditions.
Vasopneumatic compression – Compression is used to reduce both acute and chronic swelling that can be experienced after an injury or surgery. It is often utilized in conjunction with cold therapy to speed up the reduction of inflammation.
Electrical stimulation – There are a variety of forms of electrical stimulation utilized in physical therapy to achieve different goals. Here are just a few:
- TENS or Interferential Current – these two forms of stimulation are used to reduce pain and muscle tension. They are often used along with heat or cold therapy.
- Muscle Stimulation – Often after an injury or surgery, the muscles surrounding an affected area are challenging to contract independently. Electrical stimulation to those muscles can provide the assistance needed to allow the body to generate the contraction needed to begin strengthening.
- Iontophoresis – Electrical stimulation assists in driving certain medications through the skin and into deeper tissues to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Patients may need a prescription for a medication to receive this treatment. We can assist with obtaining the necessary paperwork if needed.
Makovicka Physical Therapy has the tools to assist in getting you back in the game. Ask your physical therapist if one of these modalities can be useful in your treatment plan.
Benefits of Modalities
Decreases muscle tension/tone
Improves chronic conditions thought to be permanent
Increase blood flow