Physical therapy involves the use of many different types of physical evaluation and treatment. At Georgia Neurological Surgery & Comprehensive Spine we use a variety of procedures and modalities to help improve your function and decrease pain. Our physical therapist, Matt Kellar, will work directly with your physician to ensure you receive the best treatment plan. Modalities used in physical therapy include:
Therapeutic Exercise is a major component of physical therapy as well. These activities also have inherent risks associated with them, but the risks are very uncommon. If you have any questions regarding the type of exercise you are performing and any specific risks associated with your exercises, your therapist will be glad to answer them. Since the physical response to a specific treatment can vary widely from person to person, it is not always possible to accurately predict your response to a certain therapy, modality, or procedure. We are not able to guarantee precisely what your reaction to a particular treatment may be, nor can we guarantee that our treatment will help the condition for which you are seeking treatment. There is also the risk that your treatment may cause pain, injury, or may aggravate previously existing conditions. You have the right to ask your physical therapist what type of treatment he or she is planning based on your history, diagnosis, symptoms, and testing results. You have the right to discuss the potential risks and benefits of your specific treatments. You have the right to decline any portion of your treatment at any time before or during your treatment session. Additionally, you may choose to consult your physician regarding alternatives to physical therapy intervention.
Ultrasound is the application of deep heat through sound waves that penetrate below the skin level. The effects of ultrasound include increased blood flow, soft tissue healing, remodeling of scar tissue and contractures, decreased inflammation, pain reduction, and decreased swelling.
Electrical Stimulation is used for pain relief, decreasing swelling, and muscle re-education. It is applied by placing electrodes on the skin that transmit the electric current below the skin level.
Dry Needling is a form of therapy in which fine needles are inserted into myofascial trigger points (painful knots in the muscles), tendons, ligaments, or near nerves in order to stimulate a healing response in painful musculoskeletal conditions. Dry needling is a modern, science-based intervention for the treatment of pain and dysfunction in musculoskeletal conditions such as neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and low back pain.
Traction uses manually or mechanically induced forces to stretch and mobilize the spine by stretching tight spinal muscles and joints. This may help to widen the small holes that the nerves course through to aid in relieving nerve root compression.
Superficial Heating Agents such as heat packs are used to decrease pain, increase blood flow, and prepare stiff muscles/joints for exercise.
Cryotherapy, such as cold packs and ice massage, aids in reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Manual Therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy that is delivered with the hands as opposed to a device/machine. In manual therapy, practitioners use their hands to apply pressure to soft tissue and joints to decrease pain, muscle tightness, and joint dysfunction. This may include massage. We commonly will use joint mobilization, where pressure is applied rhythmically to a joint, or provide pressure to the joint during your exercises to improve joint movement and decrease pain. We also may use a High Velocity Low Amplitude Thrust (HVLAT) to improve joint movement and decrease pain. With HVLAT techniques, it is common to hear/feel a pop or click of the joint when it is thrusted. Current research states that this is most likely the release of carbon dioxide from the joint as it is stretched. Although there have been some documented episodes of serious injury including stroke, cauda equina injury, and disc injury, these are very uncommon. You may have some temporary soreness that will more than likely improve in a few days. Please ask your therapist if you have any questions or concerns.