Are You Familiar With Passive Therapy?

Senior patient is having her right hand stretched in a pnf exercise by a physiotherapist

Modern technology brings us various kinds of therapies. passive therapy, however, uses one of the most natural/technological kinds of procedures in physical therapy. Examples of passive therapy include manual therapies, heat and ice packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasounds, and dry needling. What passive therapy simply is, is when something is done to a patient.

Passive therapy is commonly known to treat neck pain, back pain, joint pain, and more common kinds of pains. It also helps to reduce stiffness. Passive therapy can have a lot of benefits as well as risks. Benefits include: prevention of stiffness in one’s joints, work to stretch muscles, and can help increase range of motion.

Although passive therapy is known to be beneficial in many ways, there also can be risks. One of the risks includes skin damage. Severe skin damage is most likely to occur when either heat or ice is applied to the skin for a long period of time. Therefore, it is advised that heat or cold therapy is applied to take some cautious steps, such as having an extra layer of protection when therapy is applied.

This is because if heat or ice is applied to one’s skin for a very long period of time in intense temperature, a possibility of a skin injury can occur which causes long term skin damage. It is also very important that heat and cold shouldn’t be applied to areas within the skin that have decreased sensation caused by nerve damage or any medical conditions that decrease nerve function, for instance: diabetes. Another risk that is associated with passive therapy is the worsening of pain. Now, this may sound pretty confusing because passive therapy is known to treat pain and give pain relief. However, too much passive therapy can increase pain due to the pressures applied to the skin. Sometimes, the body may feel sore too after the massage depending on its intensity.

If you feel that passive therapy isn’t for you, then there is an alternative. The alternative to passive therapy is called active therapy. Active therapy unlike passive therapy involves treatment with direct body movement. Hence, it says it in the name- active. This includes: walking, being on a treadmill, light sport exercises, etc.

If a patient is in their very late stage of rehab and has intense pain, active therapy is important for them because it allows them to retrain their brain with movement. Active therapy can have risks too. The main risk with active therapy is, if directions aren’t followed carefully, the individual receiving the therapy can be severely injured which can cause the situation to be worse. When a patient is receiving active therapy as their treatment, it is very important that he or she follows the directions carefully and takes proper precautions.

Both passive therapy and active therapy treats the body to heal the pain. It depends on the individual person and his or her condition which determines whether passive or active therapy is needed. If you feel you need one of these therapy treatments to heal, consult your physician, and ask which treatment is the best for you and their pros and cons.

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