Inadequate mobility and range of motion can cause discomfort, pain, poor posture and dysfunction. Physiotherapists use their hands to mobilize and manipulate soft tissues and joints to help increase mobility and range of motion. Modalities used in conjunction with manual therapy provide relief from pain and accelerate the self-healing process.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Soft tissue mobilization can be accomplished through a wide range of techniques such as massage and trigger point therapy. The goal is to relax muscles, increase circulation, break up scar tissue and ease pain by working on muscles, tendons and ligaments.
The goal of exercise therapy is to correct weaknesses and imbalances that are contributing to pain or injury. We'll show you specific exercises you need to target the muscles that need strengthening or flexibility.
Using their hands, the physiotherapist applies rhythmic oscillation or sustained pressure to joints to help restore mobility and function.
Unlike mobilizations, manipulations consist of quick and passive movements applied skillfully to a specific joint in order to decrease pain and restore mobility and function. An audible “click” may occur when the joint is manipulated.
IMS: Intramuscular Stimulation
IMS is an effective treatment for ‘resetting’ shortened muscles that can be the reason behind chronic pain. This type of pain is usually associated with a loss in range of motion, tightness in the muscle and tenderness to touch. IMS practitioners use thin needles in order to stimulate trigger points in the tightened muscle to release them.
IFC: Interferential Current
IFC stimulates local nerve cells producing a pain reducing effect and stimulating the release of pain reducing endorphins. Some degree of muscle contraction can be achieved due to the external application of an electrical current which could otherwise be inhibited due to local injury and swelling.
TENS: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
TENS is a non-invasive way of blocking signals from nerves to the spinal cord and brain. This can provide temporary or even long-lasting pain relief. TENS can also stimulate the release of endorphins that can also help with pain relief.
Ultrasound in a physical therapy setting is used as a therapeutic modality. Ultrasound has been shown to increase blood flow, break down scar tissue, reduce local swelling, chronic inflammation and in some studies it’s been shown to promote bone fracture healing.
Cupping reduces pain and tension through increasing circulation, lymphatic drainage and joint range of motion.
Acupuncture is commonly understood through two different approaches – the traditional Chinese approach is based on a belief that needles stimulate energy flow in the body. The more recent Western approach builds on the traditional Chinese approach with a more scientific method such that acupuncture is used to release the body’s own painkillers (endorphin and serotonin) to help treat pain.
Taping or Kinesiology Tape
Tape is used to provide support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion in order to facilitate the body’s natural healing process.
Heat & Ice
Heat is used therapeutically by increasing the extensibility of collagen tissue, decreasing joint stiffness, muscle spasms, pain, inflammation, and edema and most importantly produces vasodilation. With vasodilation come increased blood flow, hence increased oxygen and nutrients to allow for better healing.
Ice is used to relieve inflammation and pain by decreasing the amount of blood flow to the area. Ice is usually best used post exercise and mostly in the acute phase of an injury.