Rehabilitative treatments in the orthopaedic setting may include the following techniques:
Manual Therapy Techniques The term "manual therapy" refers to hands-on treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Manual therapy encompasses a broad group of sophisticated techniques performed by hand and by uniquely trained physical therapists. These may include mobilizations or manipulations of soft tissue and skeletal joints. Manual therapy techniques aim to decrease pain and increase function. The goals of manual therapy include relaxation, decreased pain, and increased flexibility.
Therapeutic Exercises An individualized program is established, taught and monitored by a physical therapist/assistant that is based on an initial evaluation and aimed at achieving specific goals. A broad range of activities intended to improve strength, range of motion (including muscle length), flexibility, or to otherwise increase a person's functional capacity. Specific exercises address weakness or loss of joint mobility due to disease or injury.
Therapeutic Activities Functional, dynamic tasks from everyday living to improve range of motion and strength. For example, overhead shoulder movement can be strengthened by reaching up to place a weighted object on a shelf. This is a functional task that directly mimics real-life activity. Therapeutic activities cover a broad range of functional tasks. Movements including pushing, pulling, squatting, bending, lifting, carrying, catching and throwing qualify as therapeutic activities.
Neuromuscular Re-education Neuromuscular re-education techniques help patients regain normal, controlled movement patterns. The nervous system controls most of what we can do, so orthopaedic physical therapy almost always includes neuromuscular re-education as a part of the overall recovery regimen. Movement, balance, coordination, kinesthetic sense, posture and/or proprioception for sitting & standing activities are used to re-train the body to perform tasks that the body part was previously able to do.
Postural Training Poor postural alignment can be the reason for a lot of aches and pains. Postural training can enhance tissue healing and prevent recurrent injury and symptoms. Training begins with education to ensure a patient's understanding the impact of body positioning. Optimal posturing can be achieved and enhanced through various feedback mechanisms including verbal, tactile, visual and imagery. Having poor posture causes increase in strain to your joints and muscles that are working overtime to maintain your body upright. This can lead to muscle strains, sprains and other musculoskeletal problems.
Home Exercise Planning Individual home programs are written, taught and monitored closely by the therapist through the duration of one's therapy with progressive modifications that are based on the individual's needs, progress and established goals. Ensuring adherence to a home exercise program (HEP) is often a major concern of physical therapists when they are getting close to discharging a client. A patient could backslide on their progress after they've been discharged. Being sure that the patient is fully independent with his or her exercise routine is a crucial function of physical therapy. Tapering off from their prescribed activities too soon, could result in a return of symptoms. An HEP handout that illustrates which exercises are to be performed, how often, and at what intensity is a part of the rehabilitation package so that the complete physical therapy process is a success. Positive results are largely dependent on a person's adherence to the specific exercise regime that is established by the therapist .
Patient Education As physical therapists, we all realize that patient education is potentially the most crucial part of the treatment process and our commitment to education is what sets us apart from other health professionals. Educational material from a trusted health professional is valued more than similar information obtained from a magazine, book or internet. Patients who are educated will have a greater understanding of their condition and treatment, and will be better equipped to take an active part in the treatment process. Effectively educating our patients influences patient's treatment outcomes and improves the patient's reaction to the overall process.
Therapeutic Modalities such as Ultrasound, Mechanical Traction, Electro Therapy, Cold/Heat treatments, etc. Physical therapists use a variety of modalities that can help strengthen, relax, and heal the muscles of their patients. Depending on the patient's condition, needs and goals, therapists will use different modules and techniques to get the best results. The benefits of ultrasound include promotion of muscle relaxation, increased local metabolism and reduction of pain by sedating nerve endings. Mechanical traction creates a pulling force to produce a combination of distraction and gliding to relieve pain and increase tissue flexibility. Electric stimulation used on muscles that have a nerve supply can strengthen healthy muscle, prevent or reverse disuse atrophy, maintain or improve mobility, promote peripheral circulation and prevent fibrotic changes. The variety of options is beneficial in the assistance of managing pain, re-educating muscles and increasing circulation for improved healing after an injury.