Help From The Physician

Cryotherapy (Ice Therapy)

Cryotherapy is a term that describes the application of ice, cold towels, ice massage and compresses to reduce the temperature of tissues directly on or below the surface of the skin. The body's first response to injury is inflammation. The length of time an injury remains in the inflammatory stage is a significant limiting factor to healing. By utilizing cryotherapy, the inflammatory phase of an injury is reduced and healing is more rapidly promoted. Surface cooling constricts blood vessels, numbs painful areas, and helps relax muscle spasms. Cold temperatures reduce nerve transmission of painful symptoms and provide temporary relief.

Ice packs are most often used to manage acute injuries or recent eruptions of chronic conditions. Cooling affected tissues are effective in reducing and preventing posttraumatic swelling. Local cooling should be applied several times a day during the initial stages of an injury.

The Patient benefits by:

- Reducing swelling and inflammation

- Numbs affected area to reduce pain

- Reduces muscle spasms

- Inexpensive and can be self-applied

Always place a towel between the ice pack and your skin.

Icing is most beneficial if it is followed by controlled pain free range of motion in the joint.

Thermotherapy / Hydrocollation (Hot Packs)

Hydrocollation is a term that describes the application of moist heat and increases the temperature of tissues directly on or below the surface of the skin. During the repair phase of an injury, blood flow is essential in providing the injured area the necessary proteins, enzymes, and nutrients to promote healing. Surface warming dilates the blood vessels which increases the blood flow to the affected area increasing the rate of tissue metabolism, as well as reduces muscle spasm, stiffness, and pain sensation.

Hydrocollation decreases pulse rate, blood pressure and respiration thereby bringing on a more relaxed state. It decreases the activity of muscle spasms and nerve excitability.

The Patient benefits by:

- Increases the rate of tissue metabolism and improves blood flow

- Stimulates healing

- Reduces scar tissue formation

- Reduces muscle spasms

- Enhances the body's natural healing ability

Electrotherapy (Electrical Muscle Stimulation)

Electrotherapy utilizes the application of specifically engineered electrocurrent to promote healing, strength, and range-of-motion, as well as reduces pain, swelling, and spasm. There are numerous forms of electrotherapy such as Interferential Current, Direct Current, Alternating Current, Russian Stim, Hi Volt, TENS, and Microcurrent. The application of the proper form of electrical stimulation to the specific condition being treated is paramount in accelerating injury recovery.

Electrical Muscle Stimulation (E-STIM) is most often used for pain relief and to aid in reducing the swelling of soft tissues. Ligament sprains, muscle strains, and muscle spasms often respond to this treatment, helping to reduce atrophy and increase blood circulation.

E-STIM works by sending tiny amounts of electrical impulses into the tissues in a vicinity of the injury. Where these waves intersect below the surface of the skin, and a low-frequency stimulation is created. This prompts the body to secrete endorphins and other natural pain killers to help relieve the pain.

The Patient benefits by:

- Reduces pain

- Decreases local swelling

- Promotes muscle tone

- Restores normal movements

- Releases the body's natural pain killers

- Accelerates the healing process


Therapeutic ultrasound is by far the most widely used form of physiotherapy in physical medicine and rehabilitation today. The reason for this is because it carries with it a dynamic variety of healing mechanisms.

Ultrasound is a therapeutic treatment using high-frequency sound waves administered in the region of the soft tissue injuries. Sound vibrations, as fast as a million times per second, penetrate the tissues deep in the body, creating a heat response. These vibrations and heat break down and disperse unhealthy calcium and other hard tissue accumulations.

Ultrasound is capable of penetrating heat to structures deep below the surface of the skin. The typical application of a hot pack has a thermal effect that penetrates about 0.4 inches below the skin. Therapeutic ultrasound is capable of penetrating heat five times deeper (approximately 2 inches below the skin).

Ultrasound also has a therapeutic mechanical effect on the tissues that it is applied to. The high frequency vibrations from the ultrasound increase cellular permeability. What this means is that proteins, ions, and nutrients are more easily transported into and out of injured cells, therefore, accelerating the healing process.

Ultrasound treatment can usually be administered directly to the area of complaint, penetrating deep into the body. The rise in temperature, increases blood flow, relaxes muscle spasms, massages damaged tissues and speeds up the healing process.

Ultrasound is capable of performing a therapy called Phonophoresis. Phonophoresis is a process in which medicines are driven directly through the skin and into a site of injury by a means of high frequency sound wave penetration. This allows medicines, such as anti-inflammatories and analgesics, to be directly transported to an injured area, rather than passing through the GI tract and liver first.

Most patients don't feel anything when ultrasound is applied; others feel a pleasant and relaxing sensation below the surface of the skin. The gel used to conduct the sound waves are at room temperature and may momentarily feel cool to the skin when it is initially applied.

The Patient benefits by:

- Stimulates healing without irritation

- Speeds metabolism and improves blood flow

- Reduces nerve root irritation

- Enhances the body's natural healing ability

- Highly effective in treating calcium deposits

Intersegmental Traction (Hydrotherapy Bed)

Intersegmental traction is used to improve mobility and circulation in the joints of the spine. Traction stretches the joint causing a suction which helps the pliability or flexibility of the intervertebral disc. Traction also opens up the joint articulations and increases the circulation flow in the spine.

The Patient benefits by:

- Improves mobility and flexibility in the joints of the spine

- Reduces tension and nervousness

- Improves the elasticity of the tissue and strengthens the disc

- Increases circulation flow to the spine and stimulates healing

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