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Physiotherapy Treatment - How is it done?

Physiotherapy treatment is a branch of health care and physical therapy. It deals with pain caused by injury, disability, disease, or trauma. This particular type of therapy features the use of physical treatment and include different modalities rather than the use of drugs to treat pain.

This is a paramount advantage physiotherapy treatment holds over painkillers. In addition to the fact that many physical injuries or chronic pain truly need the movement and the physical attention that this therapy provides.

Innovations in physiotherapy treatment

The human race forays into the unexplored to find an innovative solution for a common issue every passing day. Healthcare has also seen technology work wonders in the field. Physiotherapy treatment is no different, having had come far from the simple hand massage.

Several technological improvements have come into the field to make it more effective. Mentioned below are the top five modalities in the field of physiotherapy treatment. Those modalities have aided in making its practice more efficient.

Ultrasound for physiotherapy treatment at Pillars of Wellness


Utilised for a large range of healthcare profession and therapeutic treatment. Ultrasound is one of the most used applications for muscle pain and inflammatory diseases, like epicondylitis. Various well-known practices, like Pillars of Wellness in Burlington, treat epicondylitis in this manner.

A healing process long-approved by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, ultrasound is a method of physiotherapy treatment used in the healing of fractures. It also aids in the dissolution of blood clots. The treatment consists of the practitioner moving a hand-held device like a transducer over the area of intended effect in a circular motion.

Ultrasound, as the name suggests, is the range of sound above the human hearing level. These sound waves are in a pitch so high that they heat the muscles, joints, and tendons. These improve the flow of blood, causing the healing process to gain momentum. Phonophoresis is also a sub-branch of this practice.

Electrical Stimulation:

Carried out on a wooden bench, electrical stimulation is a greatly operative method of physiotherapy and is completely safe. Known commonly as E-Stim, the practice covers a range of electrotherapy where electrodes are attached to the patient’s skin. This modality is used for both physiological enhancements and the treatment of pain.

Since the method is used for its effect on neurons and movement, the practice has also been known to treat patients with Bell’s Palsy. A sub-branch of E-Stim that is widely used is Iontophoresis.


From hot water bottles to steam, heat therapy – thermotherapy – is a method of physiotherapy treatment as old as is it well-known for the easing of pain in muscles and joints. Heat allows for the relaxation of muscles and ligaments. Moreover, it helps ease the ache in chronic and sub-acute injuries.

Both kinds of heat have been tried and applied: dry or moist. It has although, been researched that moist heat, or using something hot and damp as an applicant on the area of effect, works better than directly applied dry heat. This is because the water helps penetrate the pores on the skin, and acts faster than dry heat.

This application of heat differs from the use of ultrasound waves to treat physical maladies because it focuses on the top epidermal layers of the body.

In the case of ultrasound, the heat waves penetrate the skin, and the thermal effect occurs below the epidermis, directly on the muscle or bone. Skin, fat and the upper layer is effectively targeted by dry heat.


Cold therapy, or cryotherapy, is also commonly used adjacent to thermotherapy. Alternatively, to heat therapy, cryotherapy is used to slow down the blood and thus reduce inflammation. This is the same as putting an ice pack on a bruise. It calms the heat released during an injury under the skin. Cryotherapy is another well-known and universally common method of physiotherapy treatment.

It slows down swelling and the bruising since bruising occurs due to broken blood vessels under the skin. Putting ice or something cold would, therefore, reduce the speed of blood flow, reducing inflammation.

TENS [Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation]:

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, TENS for short, is known to be a further type of E-Stim in physiotherapy treatment. The difference that gives it this place on the list is that TENS in specialized in affecting pain receptors and working by sending electrical charges in particular amounts to the target area.

The practitioner must be aware of the pain threshold of the patient. Then he/she uses the TENS apparatus to send a burst of charge over the area of skin being treated. The process works over a course of time, stimulating non-painful receptors and the nervous system.

Although the treatment is seen to have had factual positive results. Most researchers still argue on the efficacy and the consistency of the practice. Many maintain the opinion that the reason for that is difficult to ascertain the mechanism of action for the treatment.

Tens for physiotherapy treatment at Pillars of Wellness in Burlington,Ontario

The Need to Choose Wisely

The techniques and types of treatment mentioned above are all forms of passive physiotherapy, rather than manual physiotherapy. Manual physiotherapy, like body massages, acupuncture, or chiropractic therapy, is more hands-on. Passive physiotherapy deals with matters “below the surface”. This is why each of the aforementioned kinds of treatment should be looked into in detail before it is applied.

There is a certain amount of overlap in the modalities mentioned above. Due to this, it is possible to misdiagnose a certain condition due to the similarity in symptoms. This error, however, can be prevented with careful research and expertise.

Case in point, there has been an incident where a patient self-administered TENS treatment when another kind of E-Stim would have been more beneficial. The apparatus for TENS and E-Stim can be bought by the public, but they should be used only under expert advisement. The Pillars of Wellness in Burlington offers specialist and expert advice on all matters of physiotherapy treatment. We believe in the transparency of the healing process. The patient should understand the significance and necessity of the treatment being administered to them.

Laurent Pinci
Laurent Pinci
Pillars of Wellness is a truly Integrated Healthcare Centre providing a high degree of collaboration and communication among health providers.