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Physical Agent Modalities

Physical agent modalites are those procedures and interventions that are systematically applied to modify specific client factors when neurological, musculoskeletal, or skin conditions are present that may be limiting
occupational performance. PAMs use various forms of energy to modulate pain, modify tissue healing, increase tissue extensibility, modify skin and scar tissue and derease edema/inflammation. PAMs are used in
preparation for or concurrently with purposeful and occupation-based activities. PAMs may only be applied by OT’s and OTA’s who who have documented evidence of possessing the theoretical background and technical
skills for safe and competent integration of the modality into the ocupational therapy plan.

Physical Agent Modality Description Indications Administration Techniques Precautions/Contraindications Image
Cyrotherapy/Cold pack Cold Used for pain management, anti inflammation, edema control, decrease of muscle guarding, spasm Cold Packs Cautiosly used on patients with sensory deficits, circulatory impairment, cold hypersensitivity, hypertension
Heat (Paraffin Bath, Hot Packs, Fluidotherapy) PAM must benefit tx. Used as adjunctive intervention in preparation for purposeful, functional activity Relieves pain , increases soft tissue extensibility , assists in wound healing No heat for cancer, blood clots.
Fluidotherapy Superficial heating modality that transfers heat by convection. Dried corn husks or other cellulose material are suspended by warmed circulating air Superficial heating modality that transfers heat by convection. Dried corn husks or other cellulose material are suspended by warmed circulating air The machine is heated to desired temperature, then the distal limb is placed inside the fluidotherapy cabinet. Turbulance of the suspended particles can be controlled. Treatment time is typically 15-20 minutes. Cautiosly used in the presence of open wounds. Open wounds must be covered with a plastic barrier to prevent cellulose particles from entering the wound.
Interferential Current (IFC) IFC uses two wave kilohhertz frequencies and creates an interferece between them, resulting in a unique current Used for pain mangement, edema reduction, and muscle spasm reduction. Uses four electrodes set up so that the two wave currents intersect one another perpendicularly. Intesity is increased to patients tolerance. Patients should feel a comfortable tingling sensation. Electrodes should not intersect thoracic cavity. Contraindicated during pregnancy, in the prensece of a cardiac pacemaker, or other implanted electrical stimulators. Precautions include obesity, impaired sensation, over superficial implants, and impaired cognitive abilities.


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