Here’s a breakdown of the most effective treatment methods for a variety of ailments, big and small. Note: The following section covers general assessments, not meant to take the place of professional medical advice, which will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Best for: Any injury. Our hands-on approach separates us from other health practitioners. We employ common tactics like stretching, massage, and hands-on strengthening exercises to reeducate the body into proper movement and mechanics. We believe that manual therapy should form the backbone of any treatment plan.
Best for: Injuries involving inflammation and swelling. Ice can be a major component of injury treatment. By constricting blood vessels after application, ice is an effective way to reduce and even prevent inflammation immediately following an injury. Cold therapy can also leave the joint more mobile and enhance manual therapy. Although it’s difficult to nail down the most effective protocol, applying cold packs to inflamed areas has been shown to significantly reduce swelling in soft tissue injuries.
Best for: Injuries involving muscular spasms and tightness . Applying heat has been shown to decrease pain and increase mobility after some injuries — mainly those involving soft tissue like muscles, tendons, and ligaments. By making the tissue more pliable, we can better stretch the affected area.
Best for: Connective tissue injuries . By using sound waves (undetectable to the human ear) to generate heat deep in the body, ultrasound therapy can help loosen up tissues in preparation for manual therapy or exercise.
Best for: Muscular or connective tissue injuries . Laser therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing. This treatment can help reduce inflammation, muscle fatigue, and pain, while allowing the therapist to move the affected joint around easier with less discomfort.
Best for: Disc herniation. Traction involves separating vertebrae to allow more space for nerves and less compression on disc cartilage. Some research shows that traction can be effective for reducing pain and enhancing quality of life in patients with a herniated lumbar disc. This treatment can be an effective treatment option for those who can’t afford a long recovery due to surgery.
Functional Electrical Stimulation
Best for: Restoring muscular strength. Electrical stimulation, also referred to as ESTIM, is a common treatment option to restore muscular function following a traumatic injury. By applying a minor but steady electrical stimulus, therapists can cause contractions from muscles that may otherwise remain dormant. This leads to restoring proper movement and function sooner than relying on exercise alone. While ESTIM can’t restore movement in every case, research shows it can speed recovery following ACL and total knee replacement surgery over the course of a few week. Additional research confirms the use of ESTIM as an effective treatment option to restore function in hemiplegic patients (those with one side of the body paralyzed).
Best for: Any injury to stay healthy after treatment . It may sound obvious, but exercise is a go-to strategy to treat and prevent pain. Exercises are hand-picked to help patients move better by strengthening targeted muscles and addressing any muscular imbalances.
Disclaimer: Remember that none of this information should substitute professional medical advice. Always check with a doctor or physical therapist first once those aches and pains arise!