Illness, injuries and certain health conditions can disrupt the body’s homeostasis, or balance, and can interfere with the body’s ability to move or function properly. Therapeutic tools are instruments or devices used to aid in recovering functional mobility. The use of therapeutic tools may also be necessary to sustain a modified amount of mobility and self-sufficiency with chronic health issues.
Therapeutic treatments utilize devices called modalities, types of therapeutic tools, to help decrease pain symptoms, release muscle tightness of spasms and increase range of motion or movement. These instruments, such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation devices, are commonly used during a therapy session. In instances of sustained or chronic pain issues, an electrical stimulation device called a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS), may be used at home under the supervision of a specialized healthcare provider such as a physical therapist.
Other therapeutic tools are utilized to aid in safe functional mobility and may be required temporarily until the body regains normal functioning. Permanent disability or dysfunction, as seen with certain chronic health issues such as strokes, severe head injuries or life-altering accidents, may require the use of such tools or devices on a permanent basis if the decreased mobility issues are constant and unyielding. These types of therapeutic tools are often referred to as adaptive equipment.
Adaptive equipment therapeutic tools can range from assistive devices to aid in ambulation deficiencies to instruments to assist in other forms of mobility. For example, canes, crutches and walkers assist an individual with walking. These can be used when an injury such as a broken bone, inhibit the use of a limb due to pain or weight bearing limitations during the healing process. These ambulation tools may also be used when there is permanent damage decreasing the ability to walk, as can be seen with certain health conditions such as some forms of Multiple Sclerosis or chronic weakness in the limbs.
Other supplementary therapeutic tools can include such things as transfer boards, elevated toilet seats, grab bars and wheelchairs. Transfer boards aid a non-ambulatory individual to move from one place to another, such as from the bed to a chair. Elevated toilet seats, grab bars and reachers or grabbers, assist the mobility-impaired with normal day-to-day activities. Wheelchairs not only aid in mobility but can act as active positioning devices to inhibit poor body positioning from aggravating already existing postural problems. Typically, they come in customary manual types where the individual must use the upper arms to propel, or in specialized electric styles catering to the individual’s needs and existing mobility.