Cold and ice, to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries and
other conditions such as arthritis. Ice can be used for up to 20 minutes at a
time. In some cases, ice may be used several times a day. Some therapists also
use cooling lotions or sprays.
Heat, to help relax and heal your muscles and
soft tissues by increasing blood circulation. This can be especially helpful if
a joint is stiff from osteoarthritis or from being immobilized. Heat can also
relax the muscles before exercise. But heat can also increase swelling in an
injured area if it is used too soon.
Ultrasound therapy, which uses high-pitched sound waves to ease muscle spasms and relax
and warm muscles before exercise, to help relieve pain and inflammation, and to
Electrical stimulation. In
general, this is the use of electrical current to create an
effect in the body. Electrical stimulation is sometimes used at low levels to reduce the feeling of pain. It can also be used to cause muscles to contract (tense). And it is being studied as a
way to help with healing of wounds and broken bones.
Hydrotherapy (water therapy), which is a term from the past that means the use of water to
treat a disease or to maintain health. The most common hydrotherapy now is water exercise.