All Injury Rehab of North Dallas

Physical rehabilitation modalities are methods, devices, or substances used by a physical therapist or chiropractor in treating patients. These are the techniques involving temperature, electrotherapy, sound and light therapy, manipulation and acupuncture. There are many treatments that can be used. Some physical therapists and chiropractors are more traditional with their treatments. They stick to tried and true methods that have been used throughout history. Then, you will find others that use more modern techniques or change with the times. They may use new technologies as they are discovered or even alternative medicine. We will discuss some of these techniques, both old and new, below. Read on to find out more!

Hot and Cold Packs - Thermotherapy

Heat and Cold are common physical therapy modalities used in treatment. Heat is used by physical therapist and chiropractors to treat pain by relaxing muscles and increasing circulation. This can be done with heating pads, hot packs that are moistened and wrapped in towels, whirlpools, or heat lamps. Cold packs work in an opposing way from heat packs. They are used to decrease inflammation, pain and swelling. They work best for sprains or most injuries that cause swelling.


Electrotherapy is a physical therapy modality which uses electrical pulses in treatment of various issues. Muscles receive this pulse and react to it leading to tension then relaxation of the muscles. A unit known as the TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit is common in physical therapy for electrotherapy. The unit has a control device with leads connected to it. The leads are placed on the affected body part. The unit then sends a pulse to through the skin to the muscles that lay beneath. The pulse that is sent interrupts the pain signal that nearby nerves are receiving from the area. They experience relief from pain due to this interruption. Electrical Stimulation is also used to strengthen muscles by forcing them to contract over and over again. The muscle fibers build up as these contractions occur. Blood supply is increased as well which aids in healing.

Ultrasound and Ultraviolet Light Therapy

Ultrasound is a physical therapy modality where sound waves are used in treatment of pain. The physical therapist or chiropractor will use this sound therapy for deep muscle tissue that cannot easily be reached in other ways. Depending on the settings, the waves can cause vibration of the cells or a high setting can cause heat with the vibration. These waves can relax muscles, increase blood flow, and decrease inflammation. Ultraviolet light is effective in certain cases. This is a type of radiation therapy that can kill bacteria. The ultraviolet radiation can actually alter DNA and cell proteins by causing a photochemical reaction. Whereas heat can be produced in ultrasound therapy, ultraviolet light therapy is non-thermal, or no heat is produced. Light therapy can be used to clear pores, increase Vitamin D production, and increase clotting in plasma. It can be used for treatment of skin diseases and problems like acne and psoriasis as well as wounds whether they are infected or not.

Manipulation and Acupuncture

Manipulation is a form of physical therapy modality in which the body is massaged or moved into various positions to relieve pain. Massage has been a long known form of healing as touch is reassuring and can bring feelings of well-being on its own. There are various types of massages including effleurage (gliding movement of the skin), pestissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion, pounding), and myofascial release (prolonged light pressure applied). Other manipulation involves actual movement of joints and muscles. This is what chiropractors do. They are trained to realign the joints and muscles to relieve pain. They can push and pull the body in certain places and certain ways. Once realigned, blood flow is increased and muscles relax causing the patient to feel less pain. This usually has to be completed in a series of sessions. Acupuncture is a Chinese traditional technique that has become a world renown alternative medicine. Acupuncture involves puncturing certain pressure points usually with thin needles to relieve tension and adjust the body's energy flow. This treatment is said to help many illnesses and conditions such as allergies, respiratory conditions, stomach disorders, and nervous conditions among many others.

Many physical therapy modalities are used today. Physical therapists and chiropractors evaluate their patients carefully to choose the proper course of treatment for that individual. It is very important that you seek medical advice before beginning any treatment discussed here. This page is intended for educational purposes only.

This page is compliments of Dr. David L. Tinker, a licensed chiropractor who is a leading car accident chiropractor in Minnesota.

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