The role of physical therapy is one of comfort, correcting physical dysfunction, altering physical response to pain and inflammation, and decrease fear of movement and activity. Physical therapy is divided into two categories; activities and modalities.
Activities may include retraining and strengthening weakened muscles, improving mobility, improving balance, and improving joint movement. A physician’s order is necessary. A licensed physical therapist evaluates and designs an appropriate treatment plan.
Modalities may include deep heat (i.e. ultrasound, shortwave diathermy, and microwave), superficial heat (i.e. hot packs or paraffin baths), cold therapy, electrical therapy (i.e. E-stim or TENS), and myofascial therapy. Modalities are done by a licensed physical therapist and can be very helpful in reducing pain, decreasing muscle spasm and trigger points, and reducing swelling and inflammation.