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Physical therapists at Valley offer a wide range of treatments to help with your condition. Available treatments include:
Physical therapists assess your gait pattern (the way you walk) and identify any gait dysfunctions that are often related to a deficit in strength, flexibility, pain, or certain other issues and diagnoses. Treatments can include correcting gait deviations, training with assistive devices (canes, walkers, etc.), recommendation of braces/splints, and balance/coordination training.
Coordination and Balance Training
Through evaluation of multiple systems of the body, physical therapists create an individualized program tailored for each patient. Muscles, joints, the inner ear, eye tracking ability, skin sensation, and position awareness in the joints (proprioception) are some of the categories that are assessed. Exercises and activities can include strengthening, stretching, proprioception, visual tracking and habituation, and narrow base of support activities. The Biodex Balance System is an assessment and therapy technology that provides patients and clinicians with visual real-time feedback regarding posture and balance control.
Specific exercises, which are prescribed for individuals after completing their assessment, may include strengthening and endurance exercises/activities for acute or chronic injuries, use of gym equipment and weight machines, stretching exercises, and cardiovascular equipment (treadmill, bicycle, etc.).
Functional activities, including transfers from one position to another, gait and stair training, and body mechanics like lifting and reaching are addressed. Identifying difficulties with functional activities can help prevent future injuries or issues.
Prosthetic and Orthotic Training
Patients who need an orthotic or prosthetic from having a weakness or abnormality of the lower extremity may receive gait training with an ankle-foot orthosis, inserts for shoes, prosthetics with/without an assistive device, and proper wear and fit of orthotics. Patients who have prosthetics from a lower extremity amputation can also be seen for proper wear, fit, and ambulation training.
Pain Relief Modalities
Physical therapists have many options to treat the pain you may be experiencing. Pain-relief techniques may include:
- Electrical stimulation: A modality that has many settings and can be used for a number of different issues. The goal of using electrical stimulation is to decrease pain, decrease muscular spasm, improve localized blood flow to various muscles or tissues, and elicit muscle contractions.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasound is used in conjunction with an exercise program and can help to relax tight muscles that are sore, warm muscles and soft tissues which increases circulation that helps healing. Ultrasound equipment has a probe that generates high-frequency sound waves that are transferred to a specific body area, which travel deep into tissue creating gentle heat.
- Physiotouch: This is a form of negative pressure suction designed to treat a certain area that is swollen. It is a gentle and comfortable treatment method for treating swelling, increasing circulation and relieving pain and muscle aches.
- Kinesiotape: One of many types of tapes that therapists use, kinesiotape is an elastic, latex-free and hypoallergenic tape that can be worn for multiple days in a row. It is water-resistant, and does not limit range of motion. Kinesiotape can alleviate discomfort, help decrease swelling, re-train the neuromuscular system, reduce inflammation, prevent injury, and promote good circulation and healing.
- Graston technique: The Graston technique is a form of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), which is used to restore range of motion, eliminate pain and restore normal function. The technique and instruments enable the treatment of scar tissue and fascial restrictions during rehabilitation, which allows for faster rehabilitation and greater success.
Specific hands-on techniques can help relieve pain, increase joint and soft tissue mobility, and decrease swelling. Manual therapy includes passive stretching of muscles; soft tissue manipulation and mobilization; joint mobilizations and manipulation; passive range of motion of joints and extremities; and nerve glides.
Hydrotherapy uses a whirlpool tub or tank to treat patients with circulation problems, wounds, or burns that require removal of dead tissue or debris from a wound (debridement). The affected area is submerged into a tank filled with warm water, and then the wound is cleaned and dressed with bandages. At Valley, hydrotherapy treatments are offered at 505 Goffle Road in Ridgewood.
Hydrotherapy can be useful for individuals with the following conditions:
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Arterial wounds
- Diabetic wounds
- Pressure sores
- Poor incision healing after surgery
An alternative to land-based physical therapy, aquatic physical therapy takes place in a heated pool and is supervised by a trained physical therapist. It is not necessary to know how to swim; treatment may be completed in a sitting or standing position. At Valley, aquatic therapy is offered at the Center for Health and Wellness in Mahwah.
Aquatic therapy may be recommended for the following conditions:
- Sports injuries
- Post-surgical rehabilitation
- Orthopedic conditions
- Tissue injuries
- Spine injuries
- Neuromuscular injuries
- Back pain
- Gait (walking) disorders
- Joint pain
Some benefits of aquatic therapy include:
- Increased stability on land
- Improved flexibility, balance and coordination
- Improved aerobic capacity
- Reduction in joint stiffness
- Reduction in pain
- Decreased inflammation
- Hydrostatic pressure control for edema (swelling)
Patients receive feedback on proper biomechanics with lifting and reaching techniques, assessment of posture in various positions, and assessment of any strength or flexibility deficits. Patients often receive a home exercise program that enables them to continue their treatment program, increase carryover, and remain an active participant in their recovery. Patients also have access to a website that features exercise videos, photos and patient information, to further ensure continuation of their exercise program.