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Non-Physical Aspects Of Physical Therapy

You can’t move the way you used to. Your condition or injury has caused swelling.

Your doctor may have recommended physical therapy treatment to help the healing process, and it’s important that you keep an open mind during this process. You will be instructed to do stretches, joint manipulation and maybe even receive massage therapy, but there are also many non-physical aspects of physical therapy. Since there is no action required on your part, it may feel a little strange, but it’s important to know what these tricks do for your body so that you can see how vital they are to the healing process.

Ice and Heat
The most classic non-physical treatment is the use of heat. It’s pretty common knowledge that if you sprain your ankle or bump your head, you put ice on it right away to prevent or reduce swelling. The same type of process works for older personal injuries. When your body is swollen or muscles aren’t used as often, the blood flow is seriously restricted, making it difficult to heal. The strategic use of ice and heat applied to an affected area effectively reduces swelling, allowing blood to get to the area. This will increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to your joints and muscles, making it much easier for your body to get the resources it needs to heal.

Ultrasound
Another treatment that wouldn’t seem like a regular part of physical therapy is the use of ultrasound – and it’s not just for expecting mothers. The ultrasound waves penetrate much deeper than other forms of therapy, like massage and stretches, reaching tissues that otherwise wouldn’t get the attention they need. It stimulates the fibers in your muscles and tendons, increasing blood flow and feeding them with the oxygen and nutrients they need.

Electrical stimulation therapy
Another alternative therapy source is electricity. Electrical stimulation therapy, also called “electrostim”,  delivers pulses of electricity into your muscles and tissues, conducted through stickers applied to your body, similar to those used for an EKG or other monitoring system. These rhythmic pulses affect nerve conduction which, in turn, affects muscle function and control. The newly awakened area then sees increases in blood flow and in most cases, decreased pain sensed by the affected nerves.