The Overlake Clinics Musculoskeletal Medicine team emphasizes a comprehensive approach combining therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, patient education, and multiple modes of treatment to enhance the recovery of our patients and return them to function in the shortest time possible. Treatment is provided by physical therapists.
Physical therapy (also physiotherapy) is a health profession that assesses and provides treatment to individuals for the development, maintenance, and restoration of movement and function throughout life. This includes providing treatment in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors.
Our physical therapists promote healing by reducing pain and inflammation, by increasing range of motion and strength, and by improving posture, body awareness and body mechanics.
We employ multiple treatment strategies such as therapeutic functional exercise, joint mobilizations, soft tissue release techniques, modalities, and education programs to help people recover from orthopedic surgeries, joint and soft tissue injuries/conditions, workplace injuries, auto injuries, and sports injuries.
What to Expect
Your course of physical therapy begins with a specialized and focused evaluation, which involves collecting information about the current problem as well as your general health and therapy goals. A physical exam is then conducted to assess the range of motion, neurological status, level of pain, strength, posture, flexibility, and ability to perform specific functional tasks. This visit generally lasts the majority of one hour.
After the initial evaluation visit, treatment visits will commence. Your treatment program will initially focus on reducing your symptoms and establishing a foundation for proper strengthening, endurance and flexibility. Once, the foundation is set, treatment sessions will progress steadily. It is of critical importance that you adhere to both your treatment schedule in the clinic and your home exercise program so that you increase the chance of recovering.
Since your understanding and participation is essential in achieving your goals, you will be taught strategies to take control of your body and the process of healing. Education is part of what we do as physical therapists. Expect to receive a written home program that will include flexibility, endurance, and strengthening techniques.
Open communication is vital between you and your therapist, and we encourage you to ask questions during your course of therapy.
- Electrical stimulation: Decreases pain, increases circulation and decreases swelling
- Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS): Increases muscle activity and contraction ability
- TENS unit: Home electrical stimulation unit designed to provide pain relief
- Traction: Applied to the cervical spine to reduce pressure on spinal segments, nerves or discs
- Ice pack/ice massage: Decreases pain and inflammation
- Laser light therapy (low-level laser therapy/cold laser therapy): Decreases pain, increases cellular activity and increases circulation
Frequently Asked Questions about Laser Light Therapy
What is laser light therapy?
Laser light therapy (LLT) also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT) or cold laser therapy (CLT) is a treatment option that utilizes specific wavelengths of light (red and near infrared) to promote therapeutic healing. It is FDA cleared and is widely used by healthcare professionals and clinicians.
Who is a candidate for laser therapy?
It can be used for patients who suffer from a variety of acute and chronic conditions or injuries in order to help reduce pain and swelling as well as increase functionality.
What are some conditions commonly treated with laser therapy?
- Knee pain
- Rotator cuff/shoulder injuries
- Back pain
- Post-surgical conditions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Muscle strains/pulls
- Hip bursitis
- Neck pain
- Plantar fasciitis/achilles tendonitis
- Tennis elbow
- Ankle sprains
What does research demonstrate?
- Enhances the repair of tissue
- Decreases post-surgical healing time
- Improves lymphatic drainage
- Reduces pain/inflammation
- Increases circulation
How does it work?
Laser light therapy is delivered directly over the injured area for 30 seconds to several minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated and the dose of energy provided by the laser unit. During this time, the beams of light emitted from the laser pass through the layers of the skin to the target area. When cells absorb the light energy, a series of events are initiated in the cells to help normalize damaged or injured tissue and regenerate faster. This helps to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling which can speed up the process of healing.
Does it hurt? What does the laser feel like?
You will no experience pain with laser treatment. Patients typically report feeling a small amount of tingling, coolness or warmth.
How long does each treatment session take?
The typical course of treatment is up to 10 minutes per area being treated.
How many treatments does it take?
Depending on the nature of your condition or injury, your treatment may range from 10 to 15 visits, but some conditions may require longer treatment plans. Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or other autoimmune conditions will typically need more than 15 treatment sessions.
How often should a patient be treated?
Acute conditions may be treated daily, particularly if they are accompanied by significant pain. Conditions which are more chronic or long-standing respond better when treatments are received two to three times per week, tapering to once per week or every other week based upon improvement.