ELECTRICAL MUSCLE STIMULATION: Often referred to as "muscle stim", the 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
soft tissues of the spine and extremities.
ULTRASOUND: This treatment should not be confused with
diagnostic ultrasound, often used in prenatal screening,
but is instead, 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 and accelerate healing by stimulating the activity of the
cells responsible for cellular and tissue repair. In chronic cases, special
settings are used to create a deep-heating effect, heating 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.
ICE THERAPY: Ice Therapy or cryotherapy is often thought of as the therapy
of choice for acute injuries. Actually, the application of ice over any painful
tissue is usually effective at any stage of the injury. It works by restricting
blood flow to the tissue, thereby reducing swelling, pain, and muscle
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.
HEAT THERAPY: The use of heat is effective in treating conditions that are
more chronic in nature. It is not recommended that heat be used within
the first few days or weeks of a new injury, especially when any signs of
swelling are present. The best forms of heat are the in form of a warm
bath/shower or a moist heating pad. Avoid "dry" heating pads as they can
promote additional swelling and inflammation. As with Ice therapy, apply
the heat for a maximum of 20 minutes per hour. Never go to sleep with a
heating pad, as this can result in increased pain and tissue inflammation.