Techniques


Massage / Soft Tissue Mobilization
Massage is a hands on technique to increase blood flow, relaxation, decrease muscle spasms and decrease pain. Massage provides only a temporary effect. Soft tissue mobilization incorporates many techniques performed by the physical therapist to help relax muscles, restore mobility, increase circulation, increase extensibility of individual structures. Such techniques include deep friction massage, myofascial stretching, and trigger point relief and so forth. Therapeutic massage and soft tissue mobilization can be and are both widely used techniques that assist in decreasing muscular tightness, decreasing pain and promote muscular relaxation. The 'soft tissues' are defined as muscles, ligaments and even tendons and basically anything that isn't bone.

Joint Mobilization
This refers to the passive (someone is moving your joint for you) movement of a joint. Here, the joint surfaces are glided across each other in an attempt to increase painfree movement of that joint. This is a hands on technique performed by the physical therapist to restore motion in any joint. Limitations in accessory mobility are treated with joint glide which restores normal slide and with traction which provides a gentle stretch of the joint capsule and restores normal distraction. There are various grades and types of mobilization that the physical therapist may use to help improve range of motion of the joint. Joint mobilization is used to treat hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, the spine, ankle and knee.

Manual Stretching
Physical therapist applies force and controls the desired direction, speed, intensity and duration of a stretch to soft tissues or muscles that have caused a shortening or restriction of motion in a joint such as the shoulder, ankle, or knee. The muscles are lengthened beyond where they are normally resting.

Spray & Stretch
This is the use of a vaporized-coolant spray used as a local anesthetic in the treatment of trigger points and to help increase the range of motion with a painless passive stretch to the muscle.

Myofacial Release
Put simply, this is a technique in which various methods of massage and soft tissue mobilization are used. This involves working with the soft tissues (skin and its various layers as well as muscles) and increasing their mobility, decreasing areas of muscular spasm. Using these techniques effectively, a physical therapist can decrease pain, increase painfree movement and promote general healing.

Muscle Energy (Strain Counter-Strain)
Strain/Counterstrain is a technique in which the muscle affected is put at its shortest length and held for a certain period of time. This 'shortening' of the muscle aides in the muscles' total relaxation and usually decreases in pain. Muscle Energy involves contracting a certain muscle at a very low level and then gently stretching it as it moves across a joint.

Therapeutic Exercises
Home Program
Every effective rehabilitation program involves some sort of HEP (home exercise program). Here, the patient is given certain stretches, exercises or even reading to be done that is specific to their injury or problem. These HEP's can be progressed as tolerated by the patient at home.

Directed Gym Program
The completion of therapeutic exercises is an integral part of the rehabilitation process. Exercises can include any of stretching, strengthening and/or endurance training. The programs developed in a rehabilitation setting are often specific to that patient's injury and involve exercising certain muscle groups only. Once those areas have been effectively targeted, then other 'whole body' exercises are often introduced.

Gait Training
This involves a physical therapist assisting a patient in walking. Proper training helps the patient gain independence and minimizes the risk of falling causing re-injury. Assistive devices such as canes, walkers or crutches are often used. Developing other skills such as static and dynamic balance in standing and walking are very important. Ensuring that the patient can effectively ambulate (walk) over obstacles such as ramps, curbs and on uneven terrain is also a goal.
Posture and Functional Mobility
Emphasis is on restoration of proper postural alignment and functional mobility. The patient is instructed in spinal mobility and stability exercises specific to his or her dysfunction. Home exercise is encouraged and body mechanics training is included