Technological developments continue to change and improve healthcare. We see this every day at NJ Spine and Wellness in our Freehold, Old Bridge and Matawan offices. All of our teams leverage the latest technology to better serve our patients, but one treatment specialty that has seen major technological advancements is physical therapy. In this blog post, we’ll take you through some of the technology our physical therapists are currently using to help patients achieve their pain management, recovery and wellness goals. If you’re a current patient, you may be familiar with some of these tools, but this post will give you a better understanding of why our team uses this technology. If you aren’t a patient at NJ Spine and Wellness, we’ll familiarize you with some of the amazing things our team is doing with technology.
One of our physical therapists’ favorite devices is the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™. This may sound futuristic—and trust us it is! If you live in the Freehold, NJ area, you might have seen a demonstration of this machine in the Freehold Mall. The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ integrates patented, NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, a precise air calibration system, and real-time information to change what’s possible in rehab and training. AlterG enables patients and athletes to move unrestricted and pain-free – restoring and building muscle strength, range of motion, balance, function and fitness. Using the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™, our physical therapists can calibrate a patient’s effective body weight based on their comfort level to achieve pain-free movement. A growing amount of clinical evidence validates the use of AlterG’s gravity-reducing Differential Air Pressure technology for body weight supported therapy in a variety of applications. You can read articles from peer-reviewed journals on the use and efficacy of AlterG’s Differential Air Pressure technology here.
NJ Spine and Wellness offers Game Ready® treatment technology for our physical therapy patients to maintain optimal wellness, heal injuries, and prevent sports-related injuries. This advanced technology provides an effective, drug-free way to speed up your recovery. With Game Ready® technology, we can reduce the pain and swelling without medications—it is comfortable and safe and has no risk of tissue damage.
So, how does it work? Until recently, the RICE (rest – ice – compression – elevation) principles have been used after an injury to control symptoms and reduce pain and swelling. Immediately after suffering a musculoskeletal injury, the body initiates a series of physiological responses to defend surrounding tissue damage. While inflammation is a natural and necessary mechanism in the process, controlling it effectively can allow the body to heal faster. Game Ready® technology goes beyond static cold compression and uses ACCEL™ Technology (Active Compression & Cold Exchange Loop) which proactively aides lymphatic function and encourages cellular oxygen supply to stimulate tissue repair. This method, along with care from our trained team helps accelerate and enhance recovery in our physical therapy patients.
One piece of equipment you’ll see our physical therapists using in the offices is the NormaTec. The NormaTec PULSE Recovery Systems are dynamic compression devices designed for recovery and rehab. They use a patented PULSE technology to help athletes recover faster between trainings and after performance. This is great for athletes who are recovering from injuries, but it’s also a helpful tool for our physical therapy patients who need to improve circulation.
Another type of technology our physical therapists use is light cure laser therapy care. Laser therapy is a non-invasive use of laser energy to generate a photochemical response in damaged or dysfunctional tissue. It can help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and accelerate recovery from a wide range of acute and chronic clinical conditions. It has become standard of care for many musculoskeletal injuries. For rehabilitation specialists, the main goal when treating painful, debilitating conditions is to facilitate improved function and mobility. Laser therapy is a drug-free, surgery-free technique that helps make that goal a reality.
Something we are very excited about at NJ Spine and Wellness is leveraging virtual reality goggles during our physical therapy sessions. This might surprise you, but virtual reality is gaining momentum in physical therapy. According to Jason Brewton, Director of Physical Therapy for Texas Back Institute, “VR definitely has a significant place in the fitness sector. The biggest advantage of VR is its ability to place people in a multitude of environmental settings and situations without the inconvenience and cost of physically going to those locations or logistically setting up a competitive group environment. This can reduce boredom and entice those who are less athletically inclined to explore the VR activities that they would not otherwise try.” We’re excited to continue testing this technology as it’s proving to be a great way to have our patients work on their balance, coordination and helps to mix things up for them a bit.
Something our physical therapists use along with the nutritional team here at NJ Spine and Wellness is the InBody. The InBody is essentially a test that provides easy-to-understand, accurate and objective measurements to evaluate the patient’s starting point and monitor progress during rehabilitation in less than a minute. Physical therapists can use the InBody to assess muscle distribution and target areas weakened by injury or surgery, identify fluid imbalances related to inflammation, monitor changes to determine efficacy of an exercise program and guide recommendations to ensure long-term success. Additionally, NJ Spine and Wellness physical therapists will also use this test to determine whether a patient should work with one of our nutritionists for nutritional counseling.
Another machine we are very excited to be able to offer to our physical therapy patients is the NxStep™ Unweighing System. The Biodex NxStep™ Unweighing System is essentially a harness that enables partial weight-bearing therapy, providing the physical therapist with open access to the patient. We have seen this system be especially effective for our patients in wheelchairs. We use this as a treatment for patients who have experienced a spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, have low-back pain and more.
There are tons of health and fitness apps out there and many that are used in the medical field. You can connect your fitness watch to your phone, track your daily steps, heartbeat and so much more. We think mobile apps are going to become an even larger part of the healthcare industry as time goes on, and we plan on taking advantage of those that are relevant to our industry and beneficial to our patients. One that we’d like to highlight now is called Sway Medical. Sway provides the first and only FDA-cleared mobile balance test. Using the built-in motion sensors of an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch* device, health professionals can administer a medical grade objective balance test in virtually any setting. This is a great tool for our physical therapists as they can administer the test to a patient and then track the results in their reporting portal. This allows our team to easily give feedback to patients and track their progress from session to session.
With all of the amazing tools we listed above, it’s clear that technology is clearly changing the physical therapy industry. We think this is a really positive change and that this technology is only going to help us serve our patients better. Our main goal is to help you get better faster and this technology helps us to do that. If you’re interested in any learning more about these tools, make sure to ask a member of our physical therapy team at your next session, but if you’re a regular patient, we’re sure you’ll see these technologies being implemented in our Old Bridge, Freehold and Matawan locations. If you’re not currently a patient, we encourage you to call us at 877-333-6579 to make an appointment with one of our physical therapists today.