lady-on-foam-roller Top 8 Physical Therapy Rehab Treatments Explained

Your body is a temple. But, even the most beautiful temples require the occasional repair. We engage in repetitive activities and sports that may lead to physical issues. Or we may have an accident that leads to an injury.

Whether it’s a broken bone, a contusion, a swollen joint, or muscular spasms from repetitive use, your body sometimes requires maintenance and rehabilitation. The physical therapist’s office is the best place to treat many types of physical injuries and conditions.

Meet the Physical Therapist

Physical therapists, or PTs, have quite the talent for assessing your body and providing you with a treatment and recovery strategy so that your body can heal to achieve peak performance once again. At the PT’s office, you’ll see an assortment of medical instruments and equipment that the PT uses to diagnose and treat patients.

From the time-honored to the technologically advanced, we break down the top 8 physical therapy rehab treatments that a PT may commonly combine in your treatment plan.

Manual Therapy

Though not a traditional instrument, manual therapy is a critical tool in most PT plans. Manual therapy refers to actions like stretching, massaging and strengthening exercises. These repetitive motions reeducate the body on correct movements and mechanics.


Ice is used to reduce swelling and inflammation and is typically a major part of initial injury treatment. Though there is some debate over the use of ice after an injury, most PTs agree that ice treatment has been shown to reduce swelling.


Heat is used to decrease pain and increase mobility after injuries. Heat is often used in response to soft tissue injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments.


As the name implies, ultrasound uses sound waves to create heat inside the body. This helps loosen muscles before exercise.


Similar to ultrasound, laser therapy helps your body produce heat to stimulate healing. Laser therapy is used to ease swelling and muscle fatigue.


Traction helps to reduce compression on your disc cartilage. Traction is commonly used on patients with herniated lumbar discs.

Electrical Stimulation

your-guide-to-physical-therapy-licensure Top 8 Physical Therapy Rehab Treatments Explained

Often referred to as ESTIM, this treatment is meant to restore muscular function after an injury. ESTIM is often supplemented with manual therapy and exercise.


Exercise is the number one strategy recommended by PTs. Exercise doesn’t mean running around or playing basketball, it refers to personalized activities selected by a PT for their ability to strengthen a specific muscle or set of muscles in your body.

Your PT will customize a treatment plan using a combination of the above methods to help eliminate your pain and restore your temple to its former glory.