Monthly Archives: February 2016

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Feeling Hot, Feeling Cold, Feeling Better?

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If you’ve been in physical therapy before, you may remember your physical therapist using hot or cold on the affected area. But why? And how do heat and cold help with injury repair and recovery?


Hot Stuff

The practice of using warmer temperatures to aid healing is called vasodilation. Heat draws blood to an area, increasing oxygen and nutrient availability while more swiftly carrying away waste.21291155_l Heat also relaxes tense muscles, reduces muscle spasms, and prepares those muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints for exercise and stretching.


There are many ways heat therapy can be applied. Dry or moist heat sources include: heating pads, compresses, paraffin, hydrotherapy/whirlpool (where the affected area is immersed in water), and chemical/gel packs. It’s important not to leave any heat therapy in place too long (no more than 20 minutes) or to use too hot a heat source, as burns or other damage could occur. Heat therapy should feel warm and may dull aches and pains, but never apply anything hot to the point of discomfort.


Cold as Ice

Actually, applying ice directly to the skin is a terrible idea. But cold therapy, or cryotherapy, can be incredibly helpful by producing vasoconstriction, which slows circulation. By slowing circulation, the body is encouraged to decrease swelling in a muscle or joint, or prevent swelling after an exercise.


Cold therapy is usually applied with commercial cold packs, ice cubes (though never directly against the skin), iced towels/compresses, and forms of hydrotherapy/whirlpool. Like heat therapy, cold therapies should be applied for a limited amount of time, no longer than 15 minutes, to prevent pain or damage. As cold is applied, you may feel cold, then a hot sensation, then an ache, and finally numbness.


For Professional Use Only

When used properly, heat therapy and cryotherapy can be an invaluable part of managing your discomfort during physical therapy and speeding your recovery. It is important to have your hot and cold therapies administered by a physical therapist in order to make sure you get the correct treatment and duration, as well as to maintain your safety. Request an appointment today to start using hot and cold therapies!

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Four Great Ways To Support A PT Patient!

Physical therapy is designed to work weak muscles, enhance functionality, and improve endurance (without causing harm). Sometimes, that means PT can be an uncomfortable process. If someone in your life is going through PT to rehabilitate an injury, it can be hard to know best how to help. Here are our favorite ideas to make a PT patient’s day!


  • The Right Gear. Having the proper equipment makes any job easier, and physical therapy is no different. Anything from a stylish gym bag to a gift certificate for workout-friendly apparel 14336781_lcan be both useful and appreciated.
  • Clean-Up. Let’s face it, no one looks their best fresh from an intense workout. Small items like dry shampoo, quick wipes, hand sanitizer, and sweatbands can mean a lot to someone who is pooped from working hard. An after-the-gym toiletries kit makes a great option.
  • Food and Drink. Depending on the person, you might select a gift card to a smoothie shop, a cheery travel tumbler, or even a subscription to a monthly box of healthy snacks. If your friend doesn’t have as much support at home, they would love it if you brought them a frozen meal they can just pop in the oven or microwave after a long day.
  • Entertainment. Load up an mp3 player for your friend with soothing music during repetitive PT homework, or gift them a subscription to a streaming video service such as Netflix or Hulu. Many people enjoy audiobooks, and many libraries offer free downloads to patrons.


Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your friend or relative what they need, then listen carefully to what they say. PT patients can always use a little extra love and support, often in ways we may not expect. Even offering to help your friend sort their mail might be a great boon. If you’re ready to start your own physical therapy journey, request an appointment today.





Sprains, strains, fractures, oh my! Pain and impaired mobility are serious business, but there is hope. At Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold, our professional therapists collaborate with physicians to provide care that alleviates pain, restores function, and gets you back in the game faster. We encourage you to learn more about our team — and what we do best.