Physical therapy normally consists of a variety of modalities to help a patient reduce pain and regain movement. Most people are familiar with active therapies, such as having an exercise routine to rebuild muscle, but many are not familiar with passive modalities. A passive modality is a treatment the physical therapists gives to a patient; the patient is a passive participant.
Some passive modalities used in physical therapy are:
- Massage: While Physical Therapists are not massage therapist, several massage techniques are used to help alleviate muscle tension and pain.
- Hot and Cold Therapy: Heat and Ice are very common, and should be used with care. A PT knows which type of therapy is needed. Heat helps to draw blood into tissues and cold slows down circulation.
- Ultrasound – Sound waves are transmitted into the body traveling deep into the tissues and generating heat. This helps to deliver oxygen to the area and remove waste.
- TENS Unit – Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation. A TENS unit sends in electronic stimulation to help control pain. Basically the electrical stimulation interrupts the pain signals to the brain and helps your body to produce higher levels of its own natural pain killers.
Any modality has risks and benefits. While some may seem harmless, performing them on your own could increase your risk of injury. To ensure you are doing the best for your body, contact our physical therapy office.