Often referred to as “muscle stim,” this therapy involves low levels of electrical impulses delivered to the injured, painful tissues to reduce pain and speed healing. Often described by patients as a pleasant, “tingling” sensation, or “electrical massage,” these impulses stimulate the body to release natural pain relievers, called endorphins. These endorphins reduce pain and inflammation, thereby promoting faster healing of the injured tissues. This therapy is often used to treat acute or chronic pain, as well as strains or sprains of the muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the spine and extremities.
Ultrasound is a therapeutic procedure that utilizes sound waves to treat injured muscles, joints, and soft tissues. The sound waves vibrate the tissues back and forth, creating a deep, micro-massage effect. In the case of a recent injury, this helps to decrease scar tissue and adhesion formation, which would otherwise interfere with the body’s healing process. The sound waves also decrease inflammation by destroying unwanted inflammatory cells. Therapeutic ultrasound also accelerates healing by stimulating the activity of the cells responsible for cellular and tissue repair. In chronic cases, special settings can be used to create a deep-heating effect in the tissues far below the skin’s surface. This heat, along with the vibrations that are caused by the ultrasound, help to melt away the muscle spasms and “knots” felt in our muscles.
Whether applied hands-on or mechanically, the benefits of traction are similar. It is an excellent therapy choice to reduce pressure on neck or lower back discs. Traction effectively reduces joint and nerve pain, pressure, and inflammation, caused by bulging or herniated discs. This procedure is quite comfortable, and lasts several minutes.
Ice therapy or cryotherapy is the therapy of choice for acute injuries. Actually, the application of ice over any painful tissue is usually effective at any stage of an injury. It works by constricting blood flow to the tissue, thereby reducing swelling, pain, and muscular spasms. It is very important to use ice correctly. It should be used for a maximum of 20 minutes, but may be applied each hour. Also, it is important that you do not apply the ice directly to the skin. Instead, wrap the ice pack in a paper towel or thin damp cloth prior to applying to the injured area.