A physical therapist, or physiotherapist, uses both manual therapy as well as mechanical or electrical therapy to aid a patient’s recovery process and prevention. They use a number of physiotherapy equipment to reduce and relieve pain, repair the joint and muscle, and to make the patient more comfortable during his or her visit.
A physiotherapy chair, bed, couch, or table is among the various type of physiotherapy equipment. This is generally a flat cushioned bench with cushioned head support and two to seven adjustable sections. The sections adjust to lay the patient completely flat on the back, or stomach, or can be folded into different degrees to become a chair or exercise table. The physiotherapist uses this to keep the patient comfortable while examining and diagnosing. It is also used while the patient performs specific exercises, or for massage therapy.
For exercise a physical therapist might bring in hand and leg weights, elastic bands, and exercise balls as part of their physiotherapy equipment. A balance ball chair is a large air filled ball securely attached to a small stool set on rollers with back support. The client may use this type of equipment for exercises that require support for less strain on the spine and back.
To relieve pain, acute and chronic, physiotherapy equipment such as a TENS, or Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, system may be used. A TENS unit provides the patient with temporary pain relief without the added use of drugs, narcotics, or painful shots. The attachments are set on the skin over the affected area where the machine sends tiny electrical currents, or pulses to the nerves. The pulses scramble and block pain signals before they reach the brain and are said to raise the level of endorphins produced by the brain. Portable versions come as battery operated handheld devices.
Often included in a physical therapist’s physiotherapy equipment arsenal are items used in electrotherapy and ultrasound. Ultrasound devices generally consist of a round handheld wand, or probe. This probe is placed on the patient’s skin with the use of ultrasound gel to transmit ultrasonic waves through the skin. The vibration of the tissues produce heat that helps reduce pain while relaxing and repairing muscle tissue. Ultrasound can also produce a pulse for tissue relaxation when heat is not desired. Ultrasound can also be used to give medications that are needed below the skin. Usually used for patients unable to take needle injections. Often ultrasound wands come attached to a large electronic device connected to a cart.
Each physical therapist has her or his own method of treatment. These examples are just some of a long list of physiotherapy equipment used to treat patients.