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Physical Therapy Boulder CO
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Sound, electrical, and thermal energy applied to the body are some of the different types of modalities used in physical therapy. The goal of these treatments is to decrease pain, reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, and decrease muscle spasms. Some of the most common physical therapy modalities include iontophoresis, ultrasound, electro-therapeutic point stimulation, electrical stimulation, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, heat, ice, and traction. During your course of treatment our PTs will determine which modality to use and when in order to enhance your healing process.


Iontophoresis reduces inflammation around a tendon or ligament by using electrical current to “drive” medicine through the skin directly to the affected tissues. We use an iontophoresis patch that can be administered at the office and taken home for slower release into the affected tissue. Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, is applied to one side of the patch and saline is applied to the other. The treatment lasts from 3 to 10 minutes.


Ultrasound is a high frequency sound wave that provides deep heating to soft tissue structures (ligaments, tendons, muscles). It is used to bring blood flow to muscles, tendons, and ligaments to aid in the healing process. After applying gel to your skin, a therapist moves an ultrasound transducer head in small, slow circles on the affected area. The treatment is painless. A therapist may also use a corticosteroid cream in conjunction with the ultrasound to provide an anti-inflammatory effect. A typical treatment lasts 5-10 minutes.

Electro-Therapeutic Point Stimulation (ETPS)

ETPS provides direct current (micro stimulation) to motor and trigger points. We use the stimulator in conjunction with trigger point dry needling. You will feel a small contraction in the muscle, which will help deliver blood flow and ultimately help the muscle relax or reset.

Electrical Stimulation

The goal of electrical stimulation is to decrease muscle spasm or facilitate muscle contraction by applying electrical current directly to muscles in the body. Pads are applied to the skin surrounding the muscles that the therapist wants to manipulate and the electrical current causes either a mild or a forceful muscle contraction. A typical treatment lasts 10-20 minutes.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Simulation (TENS)

A TENS unit is a small battery powered machine that delivers electrical current to tissue in order to reduce pain. Pads are applied to your skin and the machine is turned up to tolerance. A typical treatment lasts 10-20 minutes.

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