Physical Therapy F.A.Q.
The standard for an initial plan is usually three visits a week; or about 2 and ½ hours a week total time. Think about it in terms of your own experiences working out or getting in shape. Does once a week do much? Twice? Consistency is key, but when it comes to physical therapy, rest and recovery afterwards is important, too.
Our goal is to keep you away from the medicine cabinet and any opioids or pain relievers that can be habit forming and abused. We have a variety of methods for treating your acute, severe pain, including: physical therapy and several modalities including infrared laser therapy, kinesio tape and manual therapy, Chiropractic adjustments, you can be fitted for a brace the same day (depending on your insurance plan), as well as acupuncture or massage therapy.
We use cutting edge technology that takes human error out of assessing your range of motion in all regions. In fact, dual inclinometer readings are the preferred method for assessment according to the American Medical Association. We use the numbers to determine your function, and we re-do them to see how you’re making progress.
Technically, the brightly colored tape you see is an advanced practice called elastic therapeutic taping. It can help with pain management of muscles and/or joints, it can help with stability at a joint, and it can help relax tense muscles or strengthen weak ones. Our team is certified to apply these products to you as a part of your treatment.
Physical Therapy Treatments
- Electro Stimulation (TENS)
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy
- Graston Technique
- Heat Therapy & Cold Therapy
- Kinesio Taping
- Laser Therapy
- NormaTec Compression Therapy
- Paraffin Wax Therapy
- Pilates Therapy
- Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
- Prenatal & Postpartum Therapy
- Spine Decompression and Traction
- Trigger Point Acupuncture
- TPI Screening
- Ultrasound Therapy
Electro Stimulation (TENS)
Electrical stimulation therapy – sometimes called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS – is a pain-relief therapy that also promotes soft tissue healing. It works by delivering small amounts of electrical current to the injured tissues, creating low-frequency stimulation. This prompts the body to secrete endorphins and other natural painkillers to help alleviate pain and discomfort.
Most patients describe the sensation of TENS as a “tingling” or “pins and needles” – but never uncomfortable. Treatments last just 10 – 15 minutes.
In addition to pain relief, other benefits of TENS include decreased swelling, increased muscle tone, restoration of normal movement, and acceleration of the healing process.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (aka Radial Pulse Therapy)
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a noninvasive treatment that uses short, intense electromagnetic shockwaves to create tiny, controlled tissue trauma in specific areas. This effectively breaks up scar tissue and boosts the body’s natural healing efforts in the area. This type of therapy is also called radial pulse therapy.
After an injury, adhesions – bands of scar-like tissue – tend to develop. This restricts movement and can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain. ESWT breaks up the adhesions, alleviating your symptoms and helping speed up your recovery.
SWT is breaking new ground. The FDA has already approved it to treat plantar fasciitis. Since then, it’s been used as a part of physical therapy with great results. Patients have reported success using it for tendonitis, chronic neck pain and back pain, rotator cuff injuries, and anywhere range of motion may be limited due to the formation of scar tissue.
Functional and Kinetic Treatment with Rehabilitation (FAKTR)
Rather than rest alone, soft tissue injuries heal best when your rehabilitation incorporates movement and controlled stress – the key components of functional and kinetic treatment with rehabilitation (FAKTR).
FAKTR utilizes a combination of therapies like kinesiology tape and instrument-assisted soft tissue massage (which breaks up scar tissue and promotes healing). Your FAKTR sessions will depend on a number of factors unique to you, including the severity of your pain and what might be most efficient and effective for you.
It is important to note that FAKTR is not painful. Your injury is challenged at increasing levels throughout your therapy, but never to the point of causing you pain. Studies show that the use of FAKTR can significantly speed your recovery time and result in greater pain relief and range of motion.
Many different soft tissue problems respond well to FAKR, including:
- Ligament sprains
- Muscle strains
- Pinched nerves
- Scar tissue
The Graston technique is a therapeutic method that uses a combination of hands-on and instrument-assisted therapy to improve your mobility and function after a soft tissue injury. Specially designed stainless-steel instruments amplify the feel of soft-tissue restrictions – similar to how a stethoscope amplifies a heartbeat – as your therapist works with you. This allows your therapist to detect, pinpoint, and treat soft tissue dysfunction.
The benefits of the Graston technique include improved outcomes, patient satisfaction, a faster return to function, and reduced scarring if therapy is conducted during post-surgical rehabilitation.
This therapeutic technique is used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Golfer’s elbow
- Ligament pain
- Myofascial pain
- Nerve-entrapment syndromes
- Plantar fasciitis
- Scar tissue
- Tennis elbow
- Trigger finger
Heat Therapy & Cold Therapy
These traditional but extremely effective therapies involve the use of hot packs and/or cryotherapy. Heat and cold therapy are particularly productive when used with other therapies, such as electro stimulation. Heat therapy benefits include:
- Pain relief
- Increased blood flow
- Improved pliability of muscle and soft tissues
- Improved joint mobility
Cold therapy benefits include:
- Pain relief
- Reduced inflammation
- Prevention of muscle soreness after therapy
Kinesio taping can be an invaluable component of your physical therapy regimen. It provides support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting your body’s range of motion while you’re healing. In other words, it offers the best of both worlds: support and rehabilitation.
Kinesio tape (KT) is strategically placed to target different sensory receptors to help alleviate your pain. At the same time, it lifts the skin at a microscopic level to help facilitate lymphatic drainage and reduce inflammation.
Patients who incorporate KT into their rehabilitation and recovery enjoy more immediate and longer-lasting pain relief, as well as a faster return to their sport, exercise, and the normal activities of daily living.
KT is latex-free and wearable for days at a time. It is safe for patients of all ages, from pediatric to geriatric populations. Patients with a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological, and other medical conditions have successfully used KT during rehabilitation.
Noninvasive and entirely pain-free, deep-tissue laser therapy is clinically proven to treat pain and inflammation by penetrating deep into muscle and tissue. Laser light energy reaches beneath the skin’s surface to stimulate a natural healing response within the body. This type of therapy may be used for people with chronic pain conditions as well as athletes with sports injuries.
Find out more about our popular, innovative deep-tissue laser therapy.
Selective Functional Movement Assessment
This type of screening provides vital information that can help optimize your physical performance and prevent future injuries.
A selective functional movement assessment (SFMA) is used to identify your normal movement patterns to identify any limitations or asymmetry. Often, we develop compensatory patterns to compensate for any movement-related dysfunction. Also, you may be surprised to know that certain conditions are associated with specific types of orthopedic injuries. For example, gluteal muscle weakness is a main cause of ankle sprains, while a history of low back pain and core weakness can be a predictor of knee ligament injuries.
Notably, the screening is conducted when you are not currently injured or in pain. During the SFMA, you may be asked by your physical therapist to perform various movements or exercises, including squats, leg raises, lunges, and the like. These typically involve the stability muscles, which are very important when it comes to preventing injury.
Athletes or active adults concerned about preventing future injury are encouraged to undergo an SFMA to identify potential weaknesses and mobility restrictions. Doing so, especially prior to sports season or expected increased activity, can significantly reduce your likelihood of injury.
NormaTec Compression Therapy
Compression therapy involves wearing specialized sleeves with a built-in air pump that regularly compresses and decompresses areas of your body. This encourages blood flow, improving the circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
Compression therapy can speed your rehabilitation, reduce inflammation, ease muscle soreness, and assist with the flushing of toxins from your body. It may be especially beneficial to patients with lymphedema (chronic swelling, usually in the arms or legs). Athletes also use compression therapy to improve their athletic performance.
At Peak Medical Centers, we use NormaTec brand equipment for compression therapy. NormaTec sleeves are commonly seen in the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB training rooms.
We have sleeves for your arms that go from wrist to shoulder, sleeves that go from ankle to hip, and a “core” sleeve for the hips, abs, and glutes. The air in the sleeves will mold to your body’s precise needs as you sit or lay down and allow the technology to work. You don’t have to do anything besides putting the sleeve on during physical therapy sessions and reaping the benefits
Paraffin Wax Therapy
Paraffin wax therapy, a type of heat therapy, is typically applied to the hands, wrists, and fingers when used for its therapeutic effect. The soothing, warm paraffin wax covers all surfaces of the hand and wrist to provide maximum deep heating.
This therapy is beneficial for those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and orthopedic injuries like tendonitis, sprains and strains, or fractures. Patients will feel less pain and increased mobility immediately after this treatment, which can allow other therapies like stretching or exercises to be more effective.
Pilates therapy is designed to improve your core: strengthen abdominal muscles, stabilize the spine, improve balance and flexibility, and encourage proper posture. This may be especially beneficial for patients with back pain, as well as for women during and after pregnancy.
Find out more about the Pilates therapy we offer at Peak Medical Centers.
Our post-surgical rehabilitation programs are exactly what the doctor ordered, especially for those who have undergone a joint replacement surgery or procedures to repair torn tendons or ligaments. At Peak Medical Centers, we customize each and every program based on what will work best for you.
Find out more about our post-surgical rehabilitation programs.
Prenatal & Postpartum Therapy
Our prenatal and postpartum physical therapy program is designed specifically for pregnant women. It safely targets and strengthens the exact muscles and functions that can cause problems during pregnancy and after birth.
Visit our prenatal & postpartum therapy page for more information.
Spine Decompression and Traction
Nonsurgical spine decompression therapy can be an excellent way to relieve pain associated with bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, and other conditions involving the back and neck.
At Peak Medical Centers, this therapy is performed on our state-of-the-art 3D ActiveTrac spinal decompression table, which can be adjusted to fit a variety of body types. The table combines traction, decompression, and three-dimensional movement all in one device, allowing your therapist to more effectively target your specific areas of concern.
Decompression therapy gently stretches your spine, taking pressure off spinal discs, nerves, and facet joints. Most of our patients experience significant pain relief – from back pain, neck pain, muscle tension headaches, and more – within the first few sessions and continue to see progress throughout their treatment.
ThermoStim is an innovative hand-held device that can simultaneously deliver heat or cold therapy and electro stimulation (TENS) during treatment. The electrical stimulation helps to break up adhesions and optimize muscle function – while hot or cold is used to anesthetize the area. This provides optimal results in the shortest amount of time.
This state-of-the-art technology has been shown to effectively decrease pain, muscle spasms, break down scar tissue, promote healing, and improve range of motion.
ThermoStim is often used with massage therapy. The combination of treatments decreases pain and inflammation and allows for a deeper soft tissue treatment than massage alone.
Trigger Point Acupuncture
Trigger point injections are one of the most effective ways to treat areas of knotted muscles called trigger points. We treat you one better with trigger-point acupuncture. The one-two therapeutic punch of trigger point acupuncture can address energy flow throughout the body as well as relieve the pain of trigger points.
TPI Screening to Improve Your Golf Swing
At Peak Medical Centers, we offer Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) screenings for golfers who want to perfect their golf swing with respect to body mechanics and other individual factors. Dr. Brandon Picchierri of our chiropractic team currently provides this service.
TPI screenings evaluate how your body moves during a golf swing, along with your current fitness level and health. It’s meant to identify any physical limitations that may be impacting your golf game. You may be surprised to find that changing even a seemingly minor hitch in your performance may get you back to playing your best.
The screening consists of carrying out a series of movements or exercises, involves no special equipment, and can usually be completed in under an hour.
Therapeutic ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to safely and painlessly treat soft tissue injuries like sprains and strains or muscle tightness. It is a very common type of physical therapy and is often used with chiropractic care or other rehabilitation services.
During ultrasound therapy, a handheld device is gently moved on top of your skin in the injured area. The sound waves penetrate deep into your tissue to stimulate blood flow and speed up healing.
Benefits of ultrasound therapy include:
- Breakdown of unhealthy calcium deposits and other hard tissue accumulations, including tight muscles
- Reduction of inflammation
For injuries in the groin, hips, or other discreet locations, we offer a unique treatment called auto-ultrasound therapy, which can deliver targeted treatment while maintaining patient modesty and comfort.