Chiropractors use various physical modalities to help treat the muscles, ligaments, tendons and soft tissues of the human body. The most common physical modalities used in Chiropractic Care are as follows:
Physical Therapists wrap moist hot packs, layered in towels, and place them on affected areas needing treatment. The heat produced by the hot packs provide several important benefits. It soothes tight muscles by causing the tissues in the muscles to relax. This decreases pain attributed to muscle tension or spasms. It causes vasodilatation of the blood vessels, which increases circulation to the area. Patients with muscle strains, spasms, or arthritis often benefit from moist hot pack treatments.
Physical Therapists use cold packs, frozen gel substances, to treat pain and areas of inflammation. The cold packs are wrapped in wet towels and applied directly to the affected areas of the body. Cold transferring to the skin, muscle, and tissues constrict blood vessels, which provide healing benefits. Vasoconstriciton decreases inflammation, which negates pain and discomfort in the area being treated.
Ultrasound machines are treatment modalities, used by Physical Therapists, utilize sound waves in high and low frequencies. These sound waves are transmitted to surrounding tissues and vasculature of the treatment area, penetrating muscles with deep tissue warming. This promotes tissue relaxation, which is useful in treating muscle tightness and muscle spasms. Another benefit is that warming effects produced cause Vessel Vasodilatation, increasing circulation to affected areas for healing assistance. The Physical Therapist can adjust machine frequencies to assist in decreasing inflammation as well.
A TENS unit stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, consisting of a battery operated machine using electrical transmissions to decrease pain. Electrodes are applied to the affected area. The machine produces electrical currents, that are sent through electrodes onto the skin’s surface. A tingling sensation is felt throughout underlying skin and muscles. This signal disrupts the pain signal being sent from the affected area to other surrounding nerves. The patient will experience less pain by breaking this bodily signal response.
Electrical stimulation uses electrical currents to contract a single muscle or a group of muscles below the skin’s surface. By placing electrodes on the skin, in various locations, the Physical Therapist can recruit appropriate muscle fibers. Contracting muscle fibers via electrical stimulation help strengthen appropriate affected muscles. The Physical Therapist can adjust the machine’s setting to allow a forceful contraction, or a gentle contraction. Besides increasing muscle strength, the muscle contraction also promotes blood supply to the affected areas for healing assistance.