Physical Therapy Modalities

Physical Therapy Modalities

Physical therapy modalities are tools used to help expand the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustment and rehabilitative exercise. Essentially, they improve fluid exchange in and out of targeted areas, help injured tissues heal, and reduce the amount of pain you may feel.

Examples of Modalities

Modalities are types of electrical, thermal, or mechanical energy that cause physiological changes in muscle tissue. Here are some examples that you may be familiar with:

  • Electrical Stimulation
  • Ultrasound
  • Heat Paks
  • Cold Paks/Ice

How Do We Use Modalities?

At Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness Center, we primarily use electrical stimulation and ultrasound in our therapy regimens to increase muscle strength, promote blood flow, reduce muscle spasms and inflammation, and release the body’s own natural pain relievers - endorphins.

  • Electrical stimulation therapy uses an electrical current to cause a single muscle or a group of muscles to engage without physical exertion. The body reacts to the stimulation by pushing out inflammation, relaxing tight muscles, and causing the body to release pain-relieving endorphins. By placing electrodes on the skin in various locations, our chiropractic assistant can engage the appropriate muscle fibers. Your chiropractic assistant can change the current setting to allow for the most beneficial effect on muscle stimulation.
  • Ultrasound therapy transmits high-frequency sound waves through the muscles to cause deep tissue and muscle warming. The warming of the muscle promotes tissue relaxation and is useful in treating muscle tightness and muscle spasms. Another benefit of ultrasound therapy is the reduction in inflammation of muscle tissue.
  • On the low-tech side, there’s the tried and true heat or ice therapy. If you’re confused about which to use for what situation, let’s clarify: heat relaxes muscles while ice reduces inflammation. So, whenever we have a patient with acute pain such as a sprain or strain, we use ice to reduce the inflammation causing the pain. If you have tight muscles with no signs of inflammation, then we prescribe heat. Your chiropractor will give you specific heat and ice protocols for your specific condition.

While physical therapy modalities can help you feel better and move better, it’s important to remember that they should never completely replace a prescribed chiropractic adjustment or rehabilitative exercise program. 


Pregnancy and/or implants preclude the use of particular therapies. Please tell your clinician if you are pregnant or have an implant.

Read our blog to learn How Physical Therapy Modalities Can Be the Icing on the Cake.

Give us a call to schedule an appointment and we can help get you on the path to a more mobile, healthy, and pain-free lifestyle.