The world of healthcare is constantly evolving. Healthcare professionals around the world are always striving to deliver the best, cutting-edge care to their patients. When it comes to physical rehabilitation, we’re starting to see more innovative physical therapy techniques than we have before. Physical therapists are continuously updating their skillset, learning new techniques, and building their expertise. Check out some of these unconventional, innovative physical therapy techniques – they may surprise you!
6 Innovative Physical Therapy Techniques
Active Release Techniques (ART)
According to ART.com, “ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves.” For this technique, the physical therapist will typically evaluate the tightness, movement, and texture in the affected area, Then, the therapist will apply contact tension to the affected body part while performing a variety of specific movement exercises. ART is different for every patient. There are over 500 moves that a therapist can choose to implement, depending on what is troubling the patient.
Gait Analysis & Balance Programs
Gait analysis involves analysis of a patient’s walking and running mechanics to identify biomechanical abnormalities. It can be a helpful tool in assessing and treating injuries through physical therapy. In most cases, the analysis will involve the patient walking or running on a treadmill and the therapist carefully watching the way they walk, or gait. After carefully analyzing a patient’s gait, the therapist will develop an exercise program that reflects the areas that need most work. Then, the patient will be on the road to recovery and maximum functionality.
Another of the most innovative physical therapy techniques is injury prevention. Injury prevention is a scientifically proven technique to prevent injuries that can occur during daily life and athletic activities. In this technique, the therapist will perform an initial analysis of a patient and identify any functional limitations. Next, they use their findings to prepare a prevention program that focuses on correcting the limitations.
ProfessionalPT.com defines the McKenzie Method as “a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation of conditions of the spine.” For this method, a therapist will fully assess a patient’s spine by having them perform certain movements and positions repeatedly. Then, the therapist will monitor the patient’s response to these movements and identify a treatment method that decreases their pain. With that being said, the McKenzie Method is geared toward patients with serious and/or complicated spine injuries. If a patient has a minor spine condition, a therapist may advise a different treatment.
Return to Sport
As its name suggests, the Return to Sport technique is a method that helps athletes transition back into their sports and physical activity. Therapists implement this approach once the patient has completed the initial stages of physical therapy. In other words, it is less of a treatment method and more of a transition period. The therapist’s goal is to help the patient return to athletics safely and effectively, while also preventing further injury.
The Schroth Method is mainly for patients with scoliosis or kyphosis. It is a non-invasive treatment that aims to elongate or de-rotate the spine. In turn, it helps to improve a patient’s posture, eliminate pain, and stop curve progression. This method is even proven to increase a patient’s lung capacity. During the treatment itself, the therapist will evaluate the patient, then assign them specific exercises aimed at developing the inner muscles of the rib cage. In addition, the therapist may also instruct the patient to do different breathing exercises to improve lung capacity.
What are your thoughts on these innovative physical therapy techniques? Do you have experience with any of them? Let us know in the comments below!