Skip to content

Physical Therapy | Functional Rehabilitation | Financial Policy | F.A.Q.’s | Glossary of Terms

Physical Therapy Modalities

Physical Therapy in PrincetonOne aspect of Physical Therapy treatment includes the use of what are called modalities. Modalities are described as a broad group of agents that may that produce changes in body tissues for therapeutic purposes.

Our therapists may use a number of different modalities for your problem(s) or condition for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Reduction of pain
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Decreasing swelling
  • Increasing the rate of healing
  • Stabilizing areas needing support

Examples of common modalities that we use routinely at Pro Rehab include: ice, heat, ultrasound, interferential stimulation, premodulated stimulation, Russian Stimulation, BiPhasic Stimulation, TENS, Micro Current Therapy, Iontophoresis, Phonophoresis, cryotherapy, mechanical traction, hydrotherapy and massage.


Cryotherapy is a term that describes the application of ice, cold towels, ice massage and compresses to reduce the temperature of tissues directly on or below the surface of the skin. Ice is most often used to manage acute injuries or recent eruptions of chronic conditions. Cooling affected tissue is effective in reducing and preventing post traumatic swelling.

Cryotherapy is inexpensive, readily available, and an easy way to reduce local swelling of inflamed tissues. Surface cooling constricts blood vessels, numbs painful areas, and helps relax muscle spasm. Cold temperatures reduce nerve transmission of painful symptoms and provide temporary relief.

Cryotherapy helps reduce swelling, inflammation, numbs affected area to reduce pain, and reduces muscle spasms.

Mechanical Traction

Mechanical traction is an excellent modality to help with patients that suffer with mechanical low back pain, arthritis, spondylolisthesis, disc bulges and disc herniation. Mechanical Traction Tables help stretch the posterior elements of the spine increasing range of motion and mechanical function. We use Eurotech Mechanical Traction tables as they combine the benefits of manual flexion and mechanical long axis traction. This allows for efficient controlled decompression of the lumbar spine.


Massage is a term describing a variety of techniques using the hands, mechanical or electrical apparatus to stimulate or soothe soft tissues of the body for therapeutic purposes. Massage works by kneading and stroking muscles to relax them, and uses friction to stimulate soft tissues. This therapy can increase blood lymph circulation while breaking up scar tissue between muscle fibers.

Massage is useful in many conditions in which body relaxation, the reduction of swelling, and muscle mobilization is desired. Therapeutic massage and its effects vary with each individual. A lubricating oil or powder is used to reduce friction during the circular stroking and compression of soft tissue.

compresssion brace

Superficial Heat

Hot packs, warm moist towels and heating pads are forms of Superficial Heat and are often used to help raise the temperature of soft tissues directly below the surface of the skin. Using heat to calm tissues suffering from long term spasm or irritation is an easy way to increase flexibility, range of motion, and promote increased circulation to speed the healing process.

Any forms of Superficial Heat applied to the surface of the skin enlarges blood vessel below the surface, relaxing tissues, and can temporarily relieve painful symptoms.

Forms of Superficial Heat help increase circulation, relaxing muscle tension, reducing joint stiffness, and preparing tissues for rehabilitation.

Interferential Current Therapy

Interferential Electro-Therapy is a therapeutic treatment to aid in the relief of pain and the promotion of soft tissue healing. Ligament sprains, muscle strains and spasms often respond to this treatment, helping to reduce atrophy and increase blood circulation. Tiny amounts of electrical impulses are induced into the tissues in the vicinity of the injury. Where these waves intersect below the surface of the skin, a low-frequency stimulation is created. This prompts the body to secrete endorphins and other natural pain killers to help relieve pain.

Interferential Electro-Therapy reduces painful symptoms, decreases local swelling, promotes muscle tone, restores normal movements, release the body’s natural pain killers and accelerates the healing process.

Electric Muscle Stimulation

Often referred to as “Muscle Stim” this therapy involves low levels of electrical impulses delivered to the injured, painful tissues to reduce pain and speed healing. Often described by patients as a pleasant, “tingling” sensation, or “electrical massage,” these impulses stimulate the body to release natural pain relievers, called endorphins. These endorphins reduce pain and inflammation, thereby promoting faster healing of the muscles, joints, and soft tissues of the spine and extremities.

Call our Princeton chiropractic office today!

Princeton Chiropractic
and Sports Rehab

601 Ewing St., Ste C3,
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 921-1705

Princeton, Mercer and Somerset county families enjoy chiropractic and its amazing benefits.