One of the biggest tools for recovery from orthopaedic issues is physical therapy. Whether to treat an injury or disorder, or whether to speed recovery after surgery, physical therapy can greatly improve healing for patients. At Princeton Orthopaedic Associates, we have a team of physical therapists who focus on particular parts of the body, so you get the best care possible.
Physical therapists can utilize several tools to help a patient to heal, from manual therapy to ultrasonic waves. Let’s take a look at some of the tools and techniques our physical therapists can use to alleviate your pain.
This is one of the most common forms of physical therapy and one of the best tools we have — the therapist’s hands. The therapist can use massage, mobilization, manipulation of the muscles or joints, and strengthening exercises and movements to help the patient. Physical therapists are trained in various techniques to improve blood flow, strengthen muscles and ligaments, and ease pain.
Just as physical therapists are trained in certain manual techniques, they are also trained in certain exercise techniques designed to target specific muscles and joints and help them recover from injury or surgery. Specific movements are needed to strengthen joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles during recovery, and physical therapists know these movements and can teach patients to utilize them for recovery.
Physical therapists can use wand devices to apply ultrasound waves to certain parts of the body. These waves create heat deep within the tissue where massage or outside heat packs may not be as effective. This deep heat improves blood flow and stimulates healing. This technique is especially good for the healing of ligaments. Ultrasound waves can also be used to enhance the reaction of topical medications, such as cortisone.
Physical therapists are trained to use heat or cold to speed the healing of muscles and joints. Therapists know the best methods to use ice to reduce swelling and inflammation in soft tissue injuries because the cold causes the blood vessels to shrink. Therapists use heat for the opposite effect — to open the blood vessels and allow more blood to flow to the injured area. This reduces tightness and pain and allows for more mobility. It allows the therapist to stretch the muscles, ligaments, and tendons better to improve mobility faster.
Traction isn’t necessarily what you might think. Most people get the idea of a patient in a hospital bed with their legs in casts dangling in the air by a sling. Instead, it’s a form of decompression therapy used mainly on patients with spinal injuries or spinal disorders. Traction is used to reduce pressure on the spine and alleviate pain. It is used for conditions such as degenerative discs, pinched nerves, and herniated discs. Reducing pressure on these conditions through traction can ease the pain for patients and allow faster healing.
These are just a few of the tools physical therapists are trained to use to improve the lives of patients. If you believe physical therapy might help you, contact Princeton Orthopaedic Associates for an evaluation. Let us help you get back to a pain-free, active lifestyle.