What is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy is the process of recovering and improving movement, strength, range of motion and relieving pain by supporting and strengthening specific areas of the body, which have been limited by injury, illness, or surgery.  The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to return the patient/client to their highest possible level of function so he or she can get back to living life – without the pain or restriction they had before.

ASTYM

ASTYM is a soft tissue mobilization technique designed to help breakdown and help realign certain types of collagen fibers (usually in the form of scar tissue).  It is a well-researched technique that works extremely well for chronic tendon or soft tissue injuries.  Some of the most common injuries we treat using ASTYM include:

  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfer’s Elbow
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Shin Splints
  • Patellar Tendinitis/Tendinosis
  • Biceps Tendinitis/Tendinosis
  • Chronically stiff joints (e.g. frozen shoulder, post-surgery knee/shoulder/ankle)

Balance Training

After injury, or just with our normal aging process, our sense of balance or proprioception tends to decrease.  Our Balance Training services help to restore that sense of where your body parts are in space, and are really geared towards fall prevention and getting you back to functioning the way you need to.

Manual Therapy

Manual Therapy can mean many things, but generally speaking it is when a Physical Therapist performs a hands-on technique in order to facilitate the healing process or help a body segment move or function more correctly.  It is a philosophy that rings true at Fast Track Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine that nearly every person can benefit from skilled manual therapy.  It is one of the reasons we only employ physical therapists that have earned that Doctorate in physical therapy and have a significant amount of continued education (after earning his/her degree) in manual therapy.  Dr. Matthew Randall is a prime example of this, as one of the few physical therapists in Utah that have earned a special certification in manual therapy (MTC).  At Fast Track we feel the more education and experience we have, the better we can serve our patients and clients and provide them with the highest quality of care possible.

Massage

Physical therapists can and do perform massage.  In addition, we also offer referrals to licensed massage therapists in the area, as we very much realize the benefits of healing massage and how massage therapy can be symbiotic to what we do in physical therapy.  Massage can help to facilitate a good healing environment, as well as help to relax surround tissue to allow your body to move in the new pattern that we leading it towards.

Modalities

Although it is our general philosophy here at Fast Track Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine to use passive modalities sparingly – there are times when each of these things can be appropriate.

Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis is a technique that can be helpful with some chronic tendon injuries, and is sometimes prescribed by your referring provider.  “Ionto” utilizes an electrical current to push a specific chemical compound (usually a type of topical steroid – although not always) through your skin in order to target the affected tissue.  With this in mind, it tends to work best for injuries that occur close to the skin (e.g. Golfer’s elbow)

Electrical Stimulation

Electrical Stimulation can be utilized for pain management, aiding edema/swelling reduction, or improving muscle control and strength.  The most common form of electrical stimulation is TENS (these are often the hand-held units you see advertised on TV or in the malls).  Different types of electrical stimulation (E-stim) work on our bodies differently; however, generally it works via stimulating either the blood vessels around the affected area to help to bring blood flow and stimulate the healing process, or by over-stimulating the nerve endings to cause a temporary deadening of the pain.  Physical therapists use very specific types of electrical stimulation to potentially speed up the healing process.

Ultrasound

Much like a sonogram, therapeutic ultrasound uses sound energy to penetrate tissue.  In most cases we use that sound energy to aim at tissue that is too deep or too limited to heat another way.  We use that heat to bring blood flow, which helps us to facilitate a good healing environment.

Neuromuscular Re-education

Much like therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular re-education is the process by which physical therapists and other licensed health care professional stimulate your nervous system in order to improve efficiency or coordination of movement.  After knee surgery, you might find it difficult to even contract your quadriceps (the muscles on the front of your thigh).  Part of that is likely due to swelling and the inhibition that can cause in those specific muscles; another reason might be because of the pain that is also causing inhibition and making it difficult to contract; it also, likely has to do with the fact your nervous system needs to relearn how to get the signal from your brain to your spinal cord and down to your quadriceps to make it contract well.  This would be one example of when we would use neuromuscular re-education to help your body relearn how to perform that contraction or movement by stimulating the nervous system to do so.  Another example would be balance training.  So much of our balance revolves around proprioception (our ability to know where are body parts are without seeing them).  After injury or surgery, this sense often becomes impaired, and our licensed physical therapists will help to stimulate this sense to regain your balance quicker.

Foot Orthotics

One of the services that Fast Track offers is the assessment of your feet for footwear changes or the need for orthotic devices.  At times a simple change in shoes can bring the needed support or cushion to reduce pain and improve the function of your feet.  If an additional orthotic device is needed we can help you find an appropriate over the counter device or cast for a custom fabricated orthotic.  For more information on this service or to see if you could benefit from orthotics please give us a call at your convenience.

Soft Tissue Mobilization

Soft tissue mobilization is really a form of manual therapy, and is a technique generally used to help the tissue surrounding your injury move better, or to help it heal more efficiently.  It is a technique that we utilize on a daily basis, and is truly one of the foundational procedures to physical therapy.

Therapeutic Exercise

Therapeutic exercises are normally those exercises specifically prescribed from a licensed health care or fitness professional to help correct muscular imbalances or recondition after injury or surgery.  At Fast Track, therapeutic exercise is an integral part of our treatment plan, as we all have muscular imbalances that can be improved upon to help make movement and function more efficient, and ultimately prevent injuries down the road.  Unlike, traditional physical therapy clinics, at Fast Track your therapeutic exercise plan will always be specifically designed by a licensed physical therapist with a doctorate in the profession.  We do not employ aides or technicians, because we believe you are here for Physical Therapy and you should be treated by a physical therapist from start to finish.