Patients will often begin their physical therapy within hours of the completion of an operation. Knee replacement patients are encouraged to take their first steps almost as soon as they regain consciousness. While not all recoveries will begin that quickly, it is important to the healing process to begin physical therapy as soon as you are medically cleared to do so. But you may have questions and want to know what to expect during rehab. Here are three common and effective physical therapy techniques you may encounter once you exit the operating room.
Ice and heat with a TENS unit
The TENS, or transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, unit applies a mild electric current to a pair of electrodes attached to the skin. The primary benefit of this stimulation is it helps block the pain signal to the brain. When applied with heat, the electric current stimulates blood flow to the area. When paired with ice, it can help reduce swelling, pain and inflammation making the TENS unit very useful during physical therapy.
The IASTM, or Graston, technique is a method is used to help break up scar tissue. When a patient is injured, scar tissue or adhesions can form which limit mobility and can slow down the healing process. Common injuries soft tissue injuries that cause the adhesions include:
- Tennis elbow
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
The Graston Technique uses stainless steel instruments to apply pressure to the injured areas of the body to help release these adhesions.
Manual therapy can include any hands-on treatment that can aid the body in recovery. Massage and trigger point therapy are the most common and relaxing techniques. But the physical therapist may also apply joint mobilization techniques to increase range of motion. In addition, soft tissue mobilization is used to help release scar tissue and adhesions around the muscle tissue. All of these techniques are designed to increase blood flow and improve range of motion to promote the body’s natural healing process.
While these are some of the more common physical therapy treatments used post-surgery, Continuum Wellness offers a wide variety of specialized treatments to help you recover from surgery.
If you are planning surgery and searching for a rehab center, contact Continuum Wellness to set up your initial appointment today.