Therapeutic Modalities

  • Underwater treadmills and land treadmills are used to treat a variety of patients. Underwater treadmill therapy is great for patients with chronic conditions or recovering from surgeries. Water prevents body weight from stressing painful joints and aquatic therapy promotes muscle strengthening, cardiovascular endurance, increased flexibility, and wellbeing. An important additional benefit of this treatment method versus traditional hydrotherapy, is that the variables (speed, resistance, and depth) can be controlled which allows for a consistently progressive therapy plan that most of our patients truly enjoy! Land treadmills help to increase strength, balance and coordination. This form of therapy, while used less often than our hydro-treadmill therapy, has advantages in some situations:

– Stimulation of bone growth and strengthening
– Ability to vary rate of incline and decline, thereby concentrating the effort to specific muscle groups
– More beneficial at certain stages of post-joint surgery rehabilitation (i.e. cruciates, hips, elbows)

One of the limitations of the land treadmill is that there is no ability to reduce pressure on the joints as there is with the hydro-treadmill therapy. Therefore, hydro-treadmill therapy is used primarily for patients with joint pain, whereas land treadmill therapy is used primarily for strengthening in the absence of pain, or reeducation of balance.

  • Thermotherapy refers to use of cold and heat applications. Cold packs are often used on muscles to reduce inflammation, control muscle spasms, and provide pain relief. Heat packs applied before stretching and flexibility exercises increase circulation, enhance healing, reduce stiffness in joints, and improve flexibility.
  • Low-level laser, or cold laser therapy, decreases pain and increases rate of healing; it is especially helpful for post-operative incision healing and pain relief, treatment of chronic lick granulomas, tendon and ligament injuries, and osteoarthritis. Learn more about therapeutic laser treatment.
  • Therapeutic soft tissue massage relieves pain, relaxes muscles, and improves blood flow and may be used in conjunction with ROM and stretching exercises.