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ELECTROTHERAPEUTIC MODALITIES

Physiotherapists sometimes use electrical devices to stimulate healing and produce pain relief.

ULTRASOUND

Ultrasound therapy is ultrasonic waves applied to the body to help increase blood flow to the injured area. This process aids removal of inflammatory toxins increases nutritional circulation and assists healing. It does not produce an audible sound and is not painful.

INTERFERENTIAL THERAPY

Interferential therapy involves applying low-level alternating currents through the tissues which produce a tingling sensation. These currents stimulate the tissues to decrease pain and swelling.

It is not painful but is intended to give a strong sensory input to the body.

LASER THERAPY

Laser therapy uses light to penetrate the skin into tissues. It has been used by physiotherapists since the ‘80s for a wide range of conditions. Research has shown that laser therapy can be a powerful anti-inflammatory that is equally effective to anti-inflammatory medications.
Although it only penetrates a few millimeters, it can have a profound effect on tissue healing. It has been shown to aid in pain relief, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, stimulate wound healing, stimulate tissue regeneration, and reduce scarring.

SHORTWAVE DIATHERMY

The term diathermy means through heating or producing deep heating directly in the tissue of the body. The externally applied source of the heat like hot towels, infrared lamps and electric heating pads often produces discomfort and skin burns long before the adequate heat has penetrated to the deeper tissues.
It is not painful but is intended to give a strong sensory input to the body.

PARAFFIN WAX BATH THERAPY

Wax therapy, which uses a bath of molten paraffin wax, is one of the most effective ways of applying heat to improve mobility by warming the connective tissues. Wax therapy is mainly used in your hands along with an exercise program.
Paraffin wax is used to apply moist heat to hands or feet to ease pain and stiffness. This type of heat therapy treatment is a good choice for people with arthritis or other rheumatic diseases – the heat helps to increase blood flow and relax muscles.

MUSCLE STIMULATOR

Muscular stimulation is used for the treatment of various pathologies which affect the tissues which we just mentioned as, when applied correctly, electro-therapy a series of benefits on the treated area, because of its multiple possible applications.
Amongst them, we stress the following: increase in tropism of the area, improvement of local circulation, drainage, analgesia, decontraction, reduction in inflammation, better oxygenation of the tissues on which it is applied, and a decrease in fibrous adherences. All of these benefits can be obtained easily and almost without any risk to the patient.

HYDROCOLLATOR PACKS

Hot packs are the packs which are immersed in an apparatus called hydrocollator. They provide superficial moist heat to the part where applied. They contain the substance which absorbs heat like silica or gel. They are stored n a thermostatically controlled water bath inside the equipment.
The temperature inside the hydrocollator ranges between 65–80ºC. The aim of the hydrocollator pack is to raise the body temperature at 40–45ºC. Hydrocollator packs are available in various sizes and shapes. The size and shape of the pack should be chosen on the basis of an area being treated. The common sizes are small (for smaller joints like elbow, ankle), large (for large joints like hip and back), contoured (for cervical spine). When used, hydrocollator packs are taken out of apparatus by means of tongs and wrapped in a towel.
The total treatment time is around 8-10 minutes.

Effects and Uses:
1. On muscular spasm: The most important physiological effect of hot pack is that
it relieves the muscular spasm very quickly. Moist heat provided by the hydrocollator pack is beneficial for relieving the muscular spasm.
2. Local rise in temperature: The rise in local body temperature occurs following hot packs application. The heat is transferred by means of conduction from hot packs
to skin and superficial tissues. Local rise in temperature has many effects including increasing circulation, relieving spasm and thus relieving pain.
3. Increase of local circulation: The local circulation around the area is also increased. It provides fresh supply of blood and nutrition. It reduces the waste products of metabolism from the area.
4. Skin and connective tissue: Skin becomes supple and elasticity of connective tissue is also increased when combined with stretching.
5. Relieve of pain: Pain is relieved by application of hot packs. Pain relief following hot pack application may occur due to decreased nerve conduction velocity or elevated pain threshold. It may be due to sedative or counter irritation effect by heat. Pain relieve may be associated with relieve of muscular spasm and increase in joint range of motion.
Contraindications:
The hot packs should not be used in the area of:
i. Impaired skin sensation
ii. Open wounds
iii. Recent hemorrhage
iv. Skin allergy
v. Impaired circulation.

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