Active and Passive Physical Therapy Treatments
Did you know that physical therapists have the ability to treat a multitude of different injuries and conditions? It’s not “just” stretching and strengthening or injury management! Physical therapists are trained in, and have a selection of, different treatment options that can be personalized to each individual. At Buffalo Chiropractic and Physical Therapy, we categorize these treatment options into two different types: Active Treatments and Passive Treatments.
Active Physical Therapy Treatments
Active physical therapy treatments are just like they sound- they require hands-on treatment. Another way to think about these techniques is they are manually performed to help you heal. The BC + PT Physical Therapists may use a few different options to help treat injuries.
Joint pain is a very common ailment, and your physical therapist may use Joint Mobilization to help with the overall mobility of the joints. This technique is applied by placing targeted pressure on the joints in specific places. Most patients see an improvement in range of motion and reduction in pain from joint mobilization.
Soft Tissue Massage
Though they are not massage therapists, a physical therapist is able to perform a soft tissue massage. Soft tissue massages are not designed to go as deep into the muscles as a deep tissue massage. This technique can be used for patients with muscular injuries or conditions to help stretch the muscle fibers.
There is a type of tissue in your body called myofascial tissues, and their job is to provide support to your muscles and bones. The Myofascial Technique is a type of massage where your physical therapist finds the trigger points where your myofascial tissues are “stuck” and uses light pressure to release them. This is like finding a knot and releasing it, which can help blood circulation and improve function.
Percussive Massage is when a PT uses a massage gun to aid treatment, and it helps penetrate deeper into the muscles than vibration therapy. There has even been research published by the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research that has found percussive therapy to be as effective as massage therapy in preventing onset muscle soreness.
Passive Physical Therapy Treatments
Passive physical therapy is far from “passive!” It’s just that instead of using active treatments, your PT will need the help of tools to address your concerns. Unlike active techniques which require your muscles to be physically moved or manipulated to help you heal, passive techniques require you to relax and let the therapies do their job.
Electrical Stimulation - Or E-Stim
Electrical Stimulation works by sending small amounts of electrical stimulation, which mimic the actions of the nervous system, to damaged tissues in the body. The use of electrical stimulation can boost the body’s natural process for responding to pain, increase blood flow, and improve a patient's range of motion.
Therapeutic Ultrasound is a deep heating treatment for conditions like sprains, strains, tendonitis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. During a PT ultrasound, a wand is pressed gently against your skin near the site of the injury, and it moves in a small circular motion. Benefits include a reduction in pain, improved blood flow, and even breakdown of scar tissue around the injury.
Mechanical Traction is a form of decompression therapy in which you get to lay down! Once you’re secured on the traction table, your PT uses the mechanical traction machine to lightly stretch your spine to help relieve the tension and pressure on intervertebral discs.
Temperature Based Therapy
During Temperature Based Therapy, either a hot or a cold pack is placed on the affected muscle, based on the discretion of the physical therapist and the condition of your injury. Both hot and cold have their own benefits for an injury or condition, but your PT will determine the best treatment for your specific needs.