Therapeutic Modalities in Coconut GroveTherapeutic Modalities in Coconut Grove

When you think of physical therapy, you probably think that it’s just the traditional massage and repetitive exercise to help you recover from surgeries or ease aches and pains. However, physical therapists have a whole host of techniques and tools to help heal the human body heal. From heat application to new uses of ultrasound technology, therapists are finding new techniques all the time. Trying these six Therapeutic Modalities in Coconut Grove techniques could be helpful to your recovery.


1: Heat application


Therapeutic modality in Coconut Grove seems straightforward, but it’s well known because it is very useful. There are two types of heat therapy, dry heat, and moist heat. They are both good for subacute and chronic injuries, with heat penetrating fat and muscles to ease pain and increase range of movement. This is used with caution, however, as it can increase inflammation if used too excessively.


There is some evidence that moist heat is more effective, penetrating more deeply and with stronger effects. The therapist starts this therapy by simply applying a dry or moist heat pack to the area they are working on and leaving it on for a certain amount of time. 


2: Deep Heat, or Ultrasound therapy.


Superficial heat seems fairly straightforward, but another common therapeutic modality is deep heat or ultrasound therapy. An ultrasound machine converts electrical energy to acoustic energy, which has both thermal (heating) and non-thermal effects. The thermal effects are used to treat soft tissue disorders like tendonitis and degenerative arthritis.


3: Cryotherapy


Like heat, cold or ice therapies have existed for centuries in one form or another. It is well known that cold restricts the blood vessels and can reduce swelling and bruising in a fresh injury. However, cold can also be useful for physical therapy long after the initial injury. Specifically, it can be useful in decreasing swelling after a physical therapy exercise, making it a beneficial therapeutic modality


Cryotherapy can come in a wide variety of forms, from gel ice packs to actual physical ice massages with ice cubes being massaged into the skin for certain amounts of time. The form of cryotherapy your therapist gives you depends on the effect they are trying to impart. If they are trying to decrease the harm from a fresh injury, they will often use cold packs of some kind wrapped in a towel. 


One unique application of cryotherapy is with vapor coolant sprays, a spray that rapidly decreases the temperature of the skin to decrease muscle spasms. 


4: Light therapy


Light therapy is actually a fairly common therapeutic modality. The therapist will use a light wand that uses light at a very specific wavelength and hold it over the affected area for 2-3 minutes. This is used to decrease inflammation, ease chronic pain, and encourage quick wound healing. Theoretically, the photons in that wavelength of light help increase the speed of the cellular processes of wound healing. 


5: Kinesiology taping


Kinesiology taping is a type of therapeutic modality where your physical therapist will use tape to restrict or allow the movement of specific muscles to exercise a particular muscle group. It can also ease pain and is often left on for a day or two. 


6: Electrotherapy


Electrotherapy is a prevalent and beneficial therapeutic modality. It comes in many forms, like iontophoresis, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and plain old electrical stimulation.


Electrotherapy, or E-stim, is a modality that involves having several electrodes attached to the skin and charged for various therapeutic effects. It’s often used for treating low back pain, tendonitis, and more. This is not usually painful, only resulting in a slight tingle. 


However, e-stim has several different iterations. Iontophoresis, for example,  is a kind of e-stim used to administer medication. That might sound crazy, but it’s very effective in distributing medicine, often a steroid used to decrease inflammation, across a localized area. Another kind, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, or NEMS, is used to contract a specific group of muscles and improve contraction and movement. This can help relax a muscle in a spasm or increase blood flow to an area to enhance healing. 


Who can use therapeutic modalities in Coconut Grove?


If your doctor has recommended physical therapy for you, it’s worth asking your physical therapist about some of the modalities above.  If you are struggling with chronic pain in Coconut Grove or surrounding areas, check us out at Progressive Therapy Center! We are ready to help you into a happier, healthier, pain-free future. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.