Physical Therapy & Finding the Best Solution for You
Whether from exercise or everyday activities, injuries that require physical therapy can seem catastrophic. However, though the task may seem daunting, physical therapy is a necessary and simple practice. Following is a list of practices to ask your physical therapist about during your own rehabilitation.
1.) Kinesio Tape
Kinesio or Kinesiology Tape is the practice of using strips of tap to lift skin gently in a certain area to increase blood flow beneath the surface of skin and tissues. By creating a pathway for blood flow to muscles, oxygen can be circulated throughout the body and to a particular area at a greater rate, increasing functionality and decreasing pain and swelling. Kinesio Taping can be done by a medical professional or at home with instruction. Purchase your own Kinesio Tape here!
2.) Prescribed Exercise
Many therapists assign exercises to be completed weekly or even daily. These exercises are meant to maintain and increase strength, flexibility, range of motion, and independence. Often exercises are broken into three groups: passive, active, and resistive.
Passive: these exercises are performed by the therapist on the patient and require no active participation by the patient.
Active: these are usually non-strenuous movements performed by the patient. These can be done independently or with the help of equipment.
Resistive: these are active movements, meant specifically to increases strength. These are often more strenuous than the active exercises and can be done with machines and other equipment.
3.) Massage/Manual Therapeutics
By applying pressure to certain affected parts of the body, a therapist can help decrease pain, swelling, and muscle tension. By stimulating soft tissue blood circulation is improved to help in the healing process. Along with massage therapy, a trained professional will be able to guide in stretching and exercising that can help muscles overcome movement and mechanical resistance. It has been recommended that manual therapy be “the backbone of any treatment plan” (source).
In a practice called electrotherapeutics, electric currents are sent through the body to stimulate blood flow, reduce pain and inflammation, and promote muscle function and healing (source). The placement of electrodes in a certain area cause muscle contraction to help maintain strength for cases in which individuals are unable to strengthen on their own. Electrodes are inexpensive for practitioners and can be extremely beneficial if used continually. Therapists, find some here!