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Physical Therapy Alternatives

Physical therapy offers an affordable, safe and effective solution to treating pain compared to drugs and surgery – it costs 19% less than injections and 75% less than surgery.

Exercise therapy sessions play a large part in improving mobility, coordination and strength.

Other therapies available to reduce swelling include: Iontophoresis – using electrical stimulation to deliver medication through your skin -, whirlpools which use heat or cold therapy to decrease swelling; and massage.


Though widely seen as new-age nonsense, acupuncture may provide real advantages. Acupuncture works by loosening muscular knots (trigger points) that inhibit movement and cause pain, as well as stimulating chemical releases which block nerve impulses transmitting pain signals to the brain.

Acupuncture involves inserting needles at acu-points located near nerves and stimulating these needles with heat (moxa) or electrical current (electro-acupuncture).

Bryan has been suffering from shoulder tendonitis for more than a year, but nothing had provided lasting relief. On his search for other solutions he came across acupuncture and holistic treatments which seemed promising; initially skeptical but willing to try anything to relieve the discomfort, Bryan finally found one and was back to regular life activities within no time!


Yoga is an ancient holistic health system which incorporates postures, breathing exercises and meditation for pain reduction, balance strengthening and immune boosting benefits. Yoga has been shown to reduce pain significantly while improving strength, balance and immunity function.

Physical therapists may suggest yoga to their patients to assist with rehabilitation. Understanding a patient’s specific condition and goals to determine how therapeutic yoga may best apply is vitally important.

Physical therapists must undergo formalized training in yoga in order to instruct patients in its practice. As opposed to yoga instructors, physical therapists are trained to evaluate how movements impact all areas of the body at once and understand the ramifications for systems such as breathing techniques or mindfulness meditation – two practices which complement each other well – studies have indicated that those participating in 16-week yoga programs experienced greater improvements in symptoms and quality of life compared with patients receiving physical therapy alone.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi (pronounced tai chee) is an ancient Chinese martial arts exercise which combines meditation with movement. The goal is to slow both mind and body by means of rhythmic choreography, breath work, and various postures.

According to research published in Sleep Journal, meditation improves sleep and decreases anxiety. Furthermore, meditation has also been proven effective at helping older adults decrease the risk of falls as proprioception (the ability to sense your position in space) decreases with age.

Tai chi movements promote proper posture and alignment, which improves postural stability while increasing energy flow more smoothly. Furthermore, they create a state of quiet awareness or “song.” In one study involving patients living with multiple sclerosis, practicing twice weekly tai chi for six months improved balance and coordination as well as decreased reported pain levels and depression levels significantly.


Therapeutic massage increases muscle blood flow and circulation, assists with breaking up adhesions (bands of tough scar tissue) and unbinds muscles resulting in greater mobility and reduced pain. Furthermore, massage can boost immunity to fight off germs or illness more efficiently.

Studies have demonstrated the benefits of therapeutic massage in lowering cortisol, the stress hormone linked to sleep issues and anxiety, while simultaneously increasing oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone linked to mood enhancement.

Physical therapists sometimes combine massage with other modalities, such as Active Release Technique or compression along energy meridians and acupoints, in order to mobilize injured areas associated with injuries, pain or trauma. Discover Massage Australia offers industry-recognized courses on these essential techniques so you can learn them as part of your practice.

Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises can increase your range of motion, reduce injury risk and help improve posture and balance while relieving tension in muscles and reducing soreness.

Tight muscles can pull on other muscles and bones, causing pain. Doing regular flexibility exercises will keep your muscles relaxed and avoid injuries.

Those experiencing chronic low flexibility should consult a physical therapist, who will evaluate your problem and suggest an effective plan to restore flexibility.

Before beginning flexibility exercises, be sure to warm up properly by walking or doing dynamic stretching exercises. Be wary when stretching joints that are unstable, swollen or inflamed as this could aggravate their injury further. Be mindful not to overstretch as “no pain, no gain” may not always apply; the goal should be gradual progress until slight tension arises in each stretch.


Swimming (aqua therapy) is an extremely enjoyable form of exercise enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. It can serve as an alternative physical therapy treatment option for injuries like bone or joint pain due to buoyancy providing relief against gravity’s impact and strain, while resistance from water strengthens weaker rehabilitating muscles.

Also, water therapy helps improve balance for those at a greater risk of falls, by increasing blood circulation to soothe sore muscles and hasten healing processes.

Swimming can be beneficial to children of all ages, but those living with disabilities or special needs may find the benefits even greater. Children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spinal injuries or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome may particularly benefit from safe pool time as an engaging experience that builds muscle strength, balance, touch-tolerance tolerance body awareness and sensory regulation skills.


Golf is a timeless recreational activity enjoyed by people of all ages and levels of ability. As an impact-free activity, it has many positive associations for physical health and mental well-being; even leading to extended life expectancies for many players. But, like all sports activities, there can be potential risks such as injuries and accidents when played by older individuals.

Physical therapists can help golfers improve their game by preventing injuries, improving swing mechanics, increasing power, and increasing flexibility. Furthermore, PT can assist in alleviating pain caused by golf through manual therapy techniques or custom prescribed exercises to fit individual clients needs.

At ORS, Direct Access makes physical therapy accessible without needing a doctor’s referral! Set an appointment today. Additionally, try our EPAT treatment that uses low or high impulse pressure waves to accelerate the body’s natural healing processes.


Tennis is an enjoyable social sport that can improve cardiovascular health, strengthen upper body muscles, and enhance core stability. Tennis also tones the body while encouraging the release of endorphins – natural mood enhancers in our bodies.

But like any sport, tennis comes with its own set of risks for injuries. Tennis injuries may range from minor to severe and be caused by overtraining, poor technique or muscle imbalance.

One of the more recent treatments for tennis elbow is shockwave therapy or extracorporeal shock wave treatment (ESWT). This noninvasive process uses handheld devices to administer high-energy acoustic waves into affected areas, stimulating cell proliferation, blood vessel growth, and the body’s natural healing processes – proving more successful than steroid injections in relieving pain and increasing grip strength.

Racket-Ball Games

Racket-ball games are fast-paced racket sports that help develop reflexes and hand-eye coordination. Racket ball can be enjoyed year round in small spaces that make it accessible for people with limited physical abilities. Social and fun, it provides a great mental workout as players must anticipate several shots ahead of their opponent to win each point – the two partners often alternate shots while competing as part of doubles team sport doubles matches.

Four Wall Paddleball, Downside Ball Game, Frescotennis and Matkot/Kadima are some examples of this type of game.

Martial Arts

Martial arts offer an ideal physical therapy option as they strengthen both mind and body through vigorous exercise. Furthermore, martial arts foster emotional intelligence as students learn to overcome challenges with self-control.

Martial artists typically develop strong bonds among fellow students through regular training, bonding over experiences shared and successes achieved together.

As martial arts evolve, schools are now emphasizing forgiveness and healing principles as part of their curriculum. Furthermore, balance is stressed; understanding that good days and bad days are both inevitable parts of life. Applying mental strength learned in martial arts to daily life can help alleviate feelings of depression, anxiety and stress; furthermore social interaction between fellow martial arts students may provide effective ADHD treatment without medications that may have adverse side effects.