Many musculoskeletal conditions respond more quickly when chiropractic adjustments are accompanied by applications of physiotherapy modalities like therapeutic ultrasound and various types of electrical muscle stimulation appropriate for the condition. Once the initial acute phase of healing is complete we will incorporate physical therapy to strengthen injured tissue and encourage proper tissue healing.
Most patients receive one or more of the following therapies while undergoing care in our office to facilitate healing and strengthen weak or previously injured tissue.
Electric Muscle Stimulation
This type of therapy uses light electrical pulses that are transmitted to specific areas of the body through electrodes placed on the skin. There are many different types of electrical stimulation. Some are more beneficial for pain relief or to reduce inflammation, some for muscle spasm, and some actually cause muscles to contract in order to reduce muscle atrophy. Some have combination effect.
Therapeutic ultrasound is a form of deep heat therapy created by sound waves. When applied to soft tissues and joints, the sound waves are a form of micro-massage that help reduce swelling, increase blood flow, and decrease pain, stiffness, and spasms.
Involves the patient lying face up with a pillow under the knees. A system of rollers then moves up and down the spine, gently stretching and massaging the muscles of the back. Intersegmental traction usually is performed just before an adjustment to relax the spine, making the adjustment easier to perform, more comfortable, and more beneficial.
When needed a patient may undergo a more traditional traction in which a traction device is applied to elongate areas of the spine. This treatment helps separate the vertebrae resulting in disc decompression, reduced nerve root pressure, and decreased pain. Please see the “Spinal Decompression” section of our site for more information on this therapy.
Ice and Heat Therapy
Ice and heat have long been used to treat many painful conditions. Ice therapy is often used to reduce swelling and help control pain immediately after an injury. Heat therapy is used to relax the muscles and increase circulation and can provide relief to patients with chronic pain. Depending on the patient’s condition, a combination of ice and heat can be used.
Most patients will be prescribed specific strengthening exercises for their condition. These exercises can decrease pain, prevent muscle deterioration, promote joint health, increase strength, stability and range of motion, and protect against new or recurring injuries.
You will be shown how to do the exercises and supervised you until you are comfortable doing them on you own. It’s important to keep up with your exercises as prescribed (similarly to drug prescriptions). Studies show that individuals who follow their exercise instructions heal faster than those who do not.
Following an injury, therapeutic stretching is an important way to prevent scar tissue from forming. Even after the injury has healed, maintaining a regular stretching program helps keep tissues flexible, increases mobility, and protects you from new injuries. Like exercise, your chiropractor will instruct you on proper stretching techniques and will supervise you until you are comfortable enough to do them on your own.