Ultrasound uses sound waves to activate tissue below the surface of the skin; these waves are at a very high level and cannot be detected by humans. Ultrasound is delivered using a transducer (or applicator) that is in direct contact with the skin of the patient. Gel is used on all surfaces of the head to minimize friction and assist in the transmission of ultrasonic waves.
LLLT (Low Level Laser Therapy) is the application of red and near-infrared light over areas of damage or disease to alter cellular function. Increased cell metabolism can enhance wound and soft tissue healing, help minimize inflammation and alleviate both acute and chronic pain. This form of modality can be useful for minor injuries, such as sprains or strains, or for general aches and pains.
Transcutaneous electrical nervous stimulation (TENS) is a medical system primarily intended to help in the treatment of chronic and acute pain. This mode sends tiny, healthy, electrical stimulation to the body through electrodes that are placed on the skin in the region where the pain is felt. Stimulation helps alleviate pain by blocking the signal of pain from entering the brain, triggering the release of natural pain-relieving endorphins from the body. An easy, drug-free alternative to assist in the management of pain.
Interferential Current (IFC) is a physical modality that is usually used to help alleviate pain in a particular region of the body. The IFC machine generates an electrical current that activates the nervous system to block the brain's pain signals. The engineered frequency of IFCs crosses the skin more quickly and with less pressure than with TENS, and is usually more relaxed and better tolerated by patients. This also activates deeper tissues. This form of treatment does not repair the injury in itself and should be considered as a short-term alternative.
Muscle stimulation is a form of electrical current that can cause a muscle or muscle group to contract. This can be useful to help strengthen muscles, as well as to retain muscle mass and strength during periods of extended immobilization. Through putting electrodes on the skin at various positions, the physiotherapist may recruit the necessary muscle fibers. In addition to increasing muscle strength, muscle contraction also tends to facilitate blood flow to the region that aids in the healing process. This modality can prove to be particularly useful in early recovery.