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Physical Therapy Modalities

Posted Jun 26 2010 7:07am


In medicine, modalities are therapeutic ways or procedures and how it is applied for the enhancement of ones condition. As you might have guessed, there are numerous types of modalities in medicine. Let us discuss on four physical therapy modalities for wounds.

One of the wound physical therapy modalities, and a very common treatment for physical trauma and injuries, is the application of ice packs and hot packs on the affected joint or limb. An ice pack is indicated 24 hours after the injury has taken place to cause constriction of the vessels for the purpose of decreasing edema, or swelling, and pain in the affected part. After 24 hours, to improve circulation in the area of injury, hot packs are applied.

Another of the many physical therapy modalities is the use of whirlpool. This is by far the known remedial procedure for patients with extensive burns. This is often administered to patients twice everyday for 20 minutes long. They are submerged in sterile water. Indications for this physical therapy modality also include those with necrotic wounds.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is indicated to limited situations. Though the indication is limited, this is one of the physical therapy modalities for wounds. Among its indications are pressure ulcers and diabetic wounds. So how does this physical therapy modality allow wound healing? This therapy provides increase perfusion in wounds that occur on hypoxic (hypoxia is the lack of oxygenation at the cellular level) areas, which discontinues or decreases growth of anaerobic microbes that delay wound healing. This is a type of physical therapy modality for wounds that lets the patient breath in oxygen for 90 to 120 minutes thereby increasing the oxygen levels in the blood and consequently, the oxygen is carried into the cells.

Electrical stimulation is one of the physical therapy modalities for the wound. This works by introducing little electrical waves on the skin surrounding the lesion. Usually, this type of treatment is indicated in pressure ulcers that are already in stage III and IV.

With technology improving and rising, physical therapy modalities are also evolving. Though that is the present situation, these four physical therapy modalities are still done commonly in patients with wounds in various health care settings. Physicians need to know what physical therapy modality patients or their families prefer. It is also essential that the medical team assess the stage of wound healing to properly indicate the type of treatment the patient needs. And from there, they can coordinate with a physical therapist. Having a good physical therapist that critically suggests treatments to patients and chooses appropriate techniques among the known physical therapy modalities, can greatly improve ones wound condition.

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