Physical therapy is an umbrella term for a number of active and passive physiotherapy and rehabilitation strategies that aim to reduce pain, improve function, and restore physical well-being. Active physical therapies involve physical activity from the patient — like stretching and exercising. Passive therapies are performed by a team member while the patient relaxes. These approaches include electrical stimulation, heat or ice, and manual therapy.
Depending on your diagnosis and overall physical condition, your treatment may incorporate one or both types of physical therapy to help you get out of pain and back to normal function.
Physical therapy relieves pain by decreasing inflammation, reducing muscle spasm, and training the body for better posture and function. Certain passive therapies — including electrical stimulation and therapeutic ultrasound — treat inflammation on a cellular level by increasing blood flow to the injured tissues to encourage healing. Electrical stimulation can also decrease muscle spasm by fatiguing the muscles until they relax.
Manual therapy is a hands-on approach in which a team member uses their hands to massage, stretch, and relax injured or sore muscles. Manual therapy may incorporate tools that are used to break down knots — also called adhesions — in the muscles.
Specific exercises and stretches address postural concerns and improve muscle and joint function. Many types of joint pain respond well to exercise and stretching because they improve blood flow to the area, improving flexibility and range of motion, and improving strength in the area to prevent future injury.
During your physical therapy visit, you arrive at the office wearing comfortable, athletic clothing that allows you to move easily. You may also want to bring water and a towel. A team member begins your session with passive modalities and stretching to warm up before beginning a series of exercises for your condition.
Physical therapy visits generally last about an hour and can be compared to a visit with a personal trainer at the gym. Depending on your condition, an appropriate amount of time will be spent on physical therapies for pain relief before beginning your exercises. Over time, your physical therapy sessions can get more challenging as you recover from your condition or injury.
After each physical therapy visit, follow all at-home recommendations, including drinking sufficient quantities of water, resting, and using ice, if needed. Once your overall treatment program is complete, you can continue your exercises at home or at the gym to maintain your progress.
Schedule a physical therapy visit at AllCare Chiropractic today by calling the office or using the online tool.