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We are referring here to therapeutic ultrasound. Not diagnostic ultrasound which is an advanced imaging technique commonly used to visualize a growing fetus. Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound waves to treat joint and muscle injuries. Although you will feel only mild warmth on your skin during treatment. therapeutic ultrasound penetrates very deeply and is a way to get heat directly to the area of injury. The sound waves also vibrate the tissues causing a deep massage effect. Ultrasound can increase circulation to an area of injury thus reducing chronic inflammation. It also reduces muscle spasm. Dr. Schwartz commonly uses ultrasound in the treatment of many joint problems especially, the shoulder, elbow, hip and heel.
This therapy delivers low level electrical impulses to injured or painful areas. Muscle stimulation reduces pain and muscle spasm. It can also been shown to stimulate bone growth. Dr. Schwartz uses electrical muscle stimulation to treat the back, neck, hip, knee, heel, shoulder and elbow. Orthopedic surgeons highly recommend muscle stimulation in the treatment of rotator cuff (shoulder) problems. Most patients find this therapy very relaxing.
Moist heat or "hot moist packs" are helpful to reduce muscle spasm and relieve pain. They can also be used to reduce pain prior to therapeutic movements or exercise. Getting people to move when they are in pain is helpful. The right type of therapeutic movement is very good at reducing joint irritation and muscle spasm.
Caution; heat increases blood flow to the area it is applied, so it shouldn't be used over areas of acute trauma and inflammation. Using heat over an acute ankle sprain or whiplash injury will make the inflammation and injury worse. Dr. Schwartz uses heat in many areas of the body, especially the back neck, knee and shoulder.
Ice: also called cryotherapy (cold therapy)
We use ice to reduce inflammation and pain. After trauma like a motor vehicle accident, fall or sports injury, there will be a lot of pain and inflammation including swelling. Ice should be used for many days after trauma to reduce inflammation and swelling. Another good example is an ankle sprain, in which ice should be used for many days, sometimes up to a week or more.
Ice is especially useful on a painful area as a prelude to therapeutic exercise or movement. When an area is very painful, ice can reduce the pain long enough to make it comfortable to move and perform an exercise. Getting people to move and exercise when they are in pain is helpful because the right type of movement can reduce pain and speed healing. This is true in many areas of the body.
Deep Massage/Neuromuscular Therapy
This is a workhorse technique for pain relief. It consists of deep gliding movements and trigger point techniques. It is very helpful with low back pain, neck pain, midback pain and other problems.
Myofascial Motion Technique.
Deep massage is performed while the nearby joint is put through a range of movement. This technique is very effective for nerve entrapment problems like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Also helpful in many muscle, tendon and ligament problems like Rotator Cuff Injuries, Tennis Elbow etc.
Active Muscle Stretching
This is a very controlled and precise form of muscle stretching. This stretching is doctor assisted. Dr. Schwartz leads you through tightening and relaxing your muscles in specific directions. You have probably seen trainers performing these techniques on athletes prior to or during competition. It is more effective than conventional muscle stretching. It is helpful to relax muscle spasms and is therefore helpful in reducing pain. It also helps lengthen chronically shortened muscles thus reducing pressure in joints of your body and improving posture.
Cross Fiber Friction
Originated by the famed Orthopedist James Cyriax MD., this is a strong massage technique. It brings more blood flow to the area of injury thus encouraging healing. Also, as an injury is healing, scar tissue naturally forms around the area of injury and can limit mobility and cause re-injury. Cross fiber friction helps prevent this scar tissue from limiting mobility in the area.
This technique is very helpful for tennis elbow, rotator cuff problems of the shoulder, knee meniscus injuries, old ankle sprains, hamstring tears, groin pulls and any tendon or muscle problem around the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, hip, knee and ankle/foot.
Manual Traction (Decompression)
This is a hands on technique that is very helpful for taking the pressure off joints and nerves. Because it is done by the hands instead of by a machine it is more precise with regard to the pressure applied and direction of application. It is very helpful when a pinched nerve is causing arm pain or leg pain (Sciatica), but is also helpful with low back pain, neck pain, hip arthritis and some shoulder conditions.