Physical therapists may seem like magicians using their professional skills to turn knee pain into manageable discomfort and casual stretches into athletic mobility. But it isn’t magic, it’s health care. And there are reasons behind each of the most common physical therapy treatments prescribed to you.
Common physical therapy treatments and why they work
Physical therapists create a custom treatment plan for their patients according to their injuries and pain. Many of these treatments often include what’s called “passive modalities” which are the use of heat, ice, or laser therapy. These types of treatments along with manual therapy can put you back on track to healing and stability over a period of time. But how do these treatments work and why do they work so well?
Manual therapy is renowned to work for all types of injuries. These injuries include slipped discs, chronic knee pain, or even hip pain due to osteoarthritis which affects up to 30 million Americans. Manual therapy consists of exercise, stretching, and massage. These three things can help to restore the tissue function in your body and strengthen the muscles which may have been weakened during your time of recovery.
Ice and heat
Ice and heat are often used to treat injuries both in and outside of physical therapy. Ice helps to constrict the blood vessels, which can prevent inflammation and reduce swelling around the soft tissue. This allows for the joint to be more mobile, which is why you’ll often see athletes with ice strapped to their arms or legs after training.
Heat on the other hand doesn’t reduce inflammation, but helps to increase mobility in the ligaments and other soft tissue while also reducing pain. Heat also makes it easier for the tendons to stretch and reduce tightness, which can make your limbs more mobile.
Low-level laser treatments
Low-level lasers are often used to treat an injury where a heat-pack can’t quite reach. Lasers are sent below the skin in light wavelengths, which cause the body to help stimulate healing. The heat also causes the tissue to become temporarily soft so your physical therapist can move the joint if necessary with less pain and inflammation.
There’s a reason behind every physical therapy treatment, which is what makes it so incredible. Even so much as a temperature change or a workout directed by your therapist can help to improve your mobility and reduce your pain over time. For more information about physical therapy, consult your doctor today.