As we know the fields in health sciences are constantly changing as new technology is invented and the literature continues to grow through research. In my efforts to stay up to date my weekly literature post is about heat modalities.
Occupational therapists are constantly using physical agent modalities (PAMs) and we need to understand why and when to use certain PAMs in a work setting. PAMs are interventions that are applied to modify specific client factors such as neurological, musculoskeletal and skin conditions. Heat modalities are used in a multiple setting and are extremely beneficial. It also for soft tissue to be in the therapeutic range, which also for an increase in blood flow, metabolism, oxygen consumption, a decrease in pain, and many other benefits.
There are two types of heat applications which is superficial and deep. Superficial are things such as heat packs and warm water that just warm that top of the tissue. Deep are things such as ultrasound and diathermy that penetrate deep into the client’s tissue. When selecting types of heat modalities it is important to understand where the client is in recovery and to access patients response to treatment by evaluating pain levels, skin color, edema, and range of motion. Heat modalities are common on diagnoses such as lateral epicondylitis, distal radius, carpus tunnel, and many others. This is a key part of the rehabilitation process as heat modalities overall decrease pain and stiffness while improving range of motion and promoting healing.