Your physiotherapy treatment will be based on your diagnosis. It may involve the application of special techniques or modalities to enhance your recovery.
This includes all information about your condition and its management. We consider education one of the most important aspects of therapy. Your physiotherapist will give you important information about what your condition or diagnosis is, and the anatomy and structures involved. During your recovery there may be certain activities or movements that you should avoid. Your physiotherapist will discuss what activities or modifications will be safe for you to perform during your rehabilitation. Understanding your condition allows you to take a direct and positive role in your recovery.
Physiotherapists are experts in exercise prescription. As part of physiotherapy training, your physiotherapist is highly trained in exercise physiology (the science of exercise). Your physiotherapist is therefore able to assess and diagnose your injury, AND prescribe injury or fitness appropriate exercises tailored for your recovery or goals.
Your physiotherapy treatment includes the careful selection and instruction of specific exercises by your physiotherapist to maximize your recovery or help achieve your fitness goals. The exercises may be specific exercises that are to be done in the clinic during your treatment session, or they may be assigned as a progressive home program, to be done outside of clinic or at your own fitness facility.
Should Exercise Hurt?
It is important that your exercises should not be painful. While some of your exercises may cause mild discomfort while you perform them, after their completion you should not feel worse having done them. If you are experiencing increased pain from your exercise program, please make sure you inform your physiotherapist right away so that they can assess and discuss with you what changes may need to be made.
If I’m injured, why would I exercise?
Sometimes certain muscles can become weak from overuse or disuse. When these stability muscles are weak, your injured structures may not be adequately supported which can predispose you to injury or prolong your recovery.
Sometimes, even if you exercise regularly, you may have weak stability muscles. If you have an injury, you run the risk of over-using these adjacent supporting structures and can cause additional injury.
Your physiotherapist can help prescribe specific exercises that specifically strengthen your stability muscles without overloading your injured area. Your physiotherapist will also guide the progression of your exercise program to ensure appropriate increases in your training without re-injury.
Please seek an exercise expert, such as your physiotherapist, when you are planning your rehabilitation.
Stretching is a form of physical exercise to lengthen a specific muscle (or muscle group) in order to improve the muscle’s elasticity and mobility. There are many methods of stretching your physiotherapist may use. Some of the common examples are: static stretching, dynamic stretching, PNF stretching
Application of heat helps to decrease pain and muscle spasm, and increase extensibility of joints, muscles, tendons, and scar tissue, thus allowing same advances during,and directly following, treatment.
Ice or cold application helps to decrease swelling and pain, and is especially effective in acute injuries in which inflammation is still a factor.
Alternating warm and cold can help to decrease pain and swelling and is effective in chronic inflammation.
Interferential Current (IFC)
This is a high frequency electrical stimulation that is designed to penetrate deeper into tissue to enhance healing by decreasing swelling and inflammation.
Neuromuscular Stimulation (NMES)
Muscle stimulation can be used to decrease muscle spasm, atrophy, or swelling, and assist in muscle re-education and reactivation.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Electrical stimulation aimed at decreasing acute and chronic pain.
This is a device that reads impulses from muscles, in order to assist in retraining muscle use or decreasing the incorrect muscle patterns to correct muscle imbalances.
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
Therapeutic Ultrasound (US)
High frequency sound waves are transmitted into the tissues through gel or water, to help resolve local swelling, decrease pain and muscle spasm, and soften adhesions (scar).
This is the use of ultrasound to drive topical medications into the tissues, and can be effective in decreasing pain and inflammation.
Manual and Manipulative Therapy
(massage, soft tissue techniques, joint mobilization, spinal manipulation)
There are many types of manual (hands-on) therapy that your physiotherapist may be trained in:
Soft Tissue Techniques
Passive movements applied to soft tissues of the body including muscles, ligaments and fascia. Examples include: massage, myofascial release, stretching, mobilization with movement
A slow, controlled movement (varying Grades I-IV) applied by a physiotherapist to an affected joint in the body to improve its range of motion.
Joint Manipulation (sometimes known as an ‘Adjustment’)
A fast, controlled movement (Grade V) applied by a physiotherapist to an affected joint to improve its range of motion and in some cases to decrease muscle spasm. Manipulation may be done to most joints of the body. Spinal manipulation is considered an advanced technique requiring further study and examination.
For your safety, the practice of spinal manipulation is a restricted activity requiring advanced training and formal examination (written & practical). All of our therapists that perform spinal manipulation are licensed and registered on the USE OF SPINAL MANIPULATION roster of the Physiotherapy Alberta College + Association.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression/Mechanical Traction
The relief of pressure on one or many pinched nerves (neural impingement) of the spinal column. This can be done either manually by the therapist, or mechanically with a traction table in which you are strapped carefully to the table while a machine gently applies a traction (pulling) force to alleviate the pressure on the discs of your spine.
This is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves insertion of a single-use needle into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a trigger point. The discomfort can vary from patient to patient. Usually, a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort upon insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or contains active trigger points, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp, often referred to as a ‘twitch response”. Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects.