With any kind of sport or activity, an injury can cause you to need physical therapy. When hitting the trails or going on tour, your body takes a lot of strain. Carrying a large and heavy backpack can cause significant pain if you’re not used to it. Likewise, even carrying a small mini backpack for many hours can cause trouble if it’s not something you’re used to. Tender muscles, back and joint pain is very common in these situations which is why you need physical therapy to help release this tension.
A Physical Therapy Ultrasound
Physical therapy ultrasound is just one passive modality of physical therapy. Passive modalities are any treatments done to the patient, rather than the patient being active and performing an exercise or some other form of active treatment. People suffering from joint and muscle pain may find ultrasound effective at relieving pain. Physical therapy ultrasound utilizes heat and sound waves to administer pain relief without causing any pain.
The Uses Of Ultra Sound
Many patients wonder, what is ultrasound in physical therapy? People commonly think of pregnancy when they hear the term ultrasound because expectant mothers receive at least one ultrasound during pregnancy. But ultrasound has other uses besides showing an internal picture of the stomach. The high frequency sound waves caused by the ultrasound machine causes the tissues to vibrate. This vibration draws blood into the tissues and the added nutrients from the blood help speed up the healing process of damaged tissues and muscles.
If a patient is experiencing a lot of pain during active exercise therapy, ultrasound can be used to help warm and loosen the muscles before treatment. The use of ultrasound before exercise can also help increase the range of motion so that patients can benefit even more from exercise treatment. Physical therapy ultrasound is used in conjunction with other passive modalities to provide a full treatment plan for patients.
The Hydrotherapy Modality
Hydrotherapy is the use of water to relax muscles and relieve pain. Water pressure and temperature play key roles in effective hydrotherapy treatments. Physical therapists may recommend that patients utilize hot tubs or pools and water massages for chronic pain management. Exercises done in the water are also effective treatments for building strength and flexibility without performing a lot of weight bearing exercises.
The Hot/Cold Modality
The application of hot and cold is a common treatment in physical therapy. Warmth, like that experienced from a heating pad or ultrasound probe, increases blood flow and helps to remove waste from the cells. It also helps the muscles to relax and can provide a short increase in a person’s range of motion.
Cold, like that experienced from a cold gel pack or ice pack, helps restrict the blood vessels, which results in less swelling from sprains and other injuries. The results of cold therapy seem to last longer than heat therapy, so many therapists will alternate between hot and cold for the best results.
The Massage Modality
Massage is another modality that increases blood circulation. The warmth caused by the kneading and pressure applied during massage warms the tissues and allows cell waste to leave the tissues. Massage also helps to work out muscle spasms, and the therapist can focus on one area to help relieve pain.
All of the above modalities work together in the field of physical therapy to provide pain relief and management. Physical therapy ultrasound can be used in conjunction with any of the other modalities, but specifically with the hot and cold modality. The ultimate goal of physical therapists is to use passive therapies that help patients complete active therapies for an overall complete sense of health and well-being.
Advanced Physical Therapy Treatments Help Athletes
Athletes can receive advanced physical therapy to help prevent and treat sports injuries. Sports medicine is one of the most common areas of physical therapy, with many clinics working directly with high school and college teams as the main therapy provider. Professional sports teams also work with sport therapists who can provide on-site advanced physical therapy and travel with the team.
Sports Specific Physical Therapy
Athletes experience frequent injuries and commonly turn to injections of steroids to reduce pain. However, this temporary fix does not heal the injury but only masks the pain caused by the injury. Specific exercises and treatment can put an athlete on the road to recovery without the need for medications or injections.
Common Sports Injuries
These sports injuries include:
- muscle cramps
These injuries happen because of weakened tissues and because of individual physio makeup. Advanced physical therapy practices help patients strengthen the physiological makeup of their bodies, while at the same time treating the injury.
lack of balance
weak rotator muscles
poor posture and spinal strength
Tissue training involves repetitive exercises that help build up tissue strength for recovering sports injuries. Manual therapy includes stretching and joint mobilization to help increase mobility. Items such as kinesio tape and stability balls help reduce pain and swelling and strengthen the core.
Every sport has its own set of therapy requirements, and therapists who specialize in sports therapy will work on specific requirements for the sport. Runners need cardiovascular endurance, golfers need a certain range of mobility, and football players need strength and agility. Therapists will not only help athletes improves these areas but provide education about injury prevention.
Physical Therapy For Amateur Athletes
Sports therapy is for more than just professional athletes. Anyone who enjoys working out, running, playing recreational sports, or performing outdoor activities such as hiking, gardening, and biking can receive the same injuries as professional athletes.
Exercise therapy is one way to maintain health and prevent future injuries. Manual therapy such as massage and range of motion exercises are ideal for amateur athletes and physically active people. For older folks who experience pain while doing physical activity, aquatic therapy allows for easier exercising in a non-weight bearing environment.
How To Afford Sports Therapy
Families who need to provide sports therapy for high school athletes may find that insurance doesn’t cover physical therapy treatments. Since most states allow people to seek physical therapy without a physician referral, some insurance companies won’t cover the cost. The American Physical Therapy Association recommends that people contact their insurance provider about coverage. Older patients who are still physically active may find that Medicare does cover physical therapy charges.
Athletes who suffer from chronic pain from past injuries should try advanced physical therapy before filling up on pain medications or getting injections. The one-on-one care plan that therapists can provide takes into consideration an athlete’s goals and focuses on the muscles and tissues relevant to the sport.