Technology and Healing

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Physical therapy is the pathway for people who have suffered from physical injuries to recover. Over time, research and scientific developments have improved the practice of physical therapy, providing enhanced relief and faster recoupment to patients. Part of the progress made in therapist’s ability to heal is technological advancements that augment and build upon practitioners’ skills to remedy the body in previously impossible manners.

“At Moveo Performance, cutting-edge technology takes center stage, offering innovative solutions to enhance the rehabilitation process,” said Jose Suarez, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, and owner of Moveo Performance.

Moveo Performance is an outpatient orthopedic private practice physical therapy clinic in McAllen, Texas. It is at the forefront of the merger between technology and practitioner, equipped with tools that elevate the practice beyond the reach of traditional methods, from anti-gravity treadmills to variable blood-flow technologies and advanced dynamometers to make precise measurements of the body’s condition.

Among the most modern technologies is the use of an anti-gravity treadmill known as Alter-G. This treadmill functions like any regular treadmill, providing a surface for forward movement. However, the user’s body is encapsulated in air, which provides an upward force that counteracts the force of gravity. This reduces the forces experienced by the body compared to movement in a regular setting, which lowers the stress on the body’s critical components for movement, such as joints and muscles, which, when compromised by an injury, cannot operate under the same stress as they could normally, possibly making the affected area unusable for movement until an improvement of the injury has occurred. However, with the Alter-G treadmill, the stress imposed on an injury can be significantly reduced, allowing for earlier use of therapy techniques and exercises and a quicker recovery time.

“By harnessing NASA-developed technology, the AlterG provides a controlled environment where patients’ body weight can be reduced to 0-80%. This allows the therapist to re-introduce walking and running at reduced body weights to regain strength and mobility. Indications for use are rehabilitation after total joint replacement, running injuries, and sport-specific conditioning programs,” said Suarez.

Other technologies include biomechanical force measurement equipment, such as VALD Force Deck plates, which measure the forces applied by standing and vertical activity, and dynamometers, which measure the forces applied by muscle groups. These cutting-edge tools give precise measurements and insights into the state of a patient’s internal muscle-skeletal workings, from which therapists can draw and define the best course of treatment for a patient and measure the progress made over time, allowing for informed, data-based decision-making.

“These state-of-the-art devices offer precise measurements of muscle strength, joint function biomechanics, enabling clinicians to make better decisions and tailor rehabilitation programs with unparalleled accuracy,” said Suarez.

Another development that Moveo utilizes is variable blood flow tourniquets for personalized blood flow restriction training (PBFR), which allows muscle building to occur at a lesser intensity of exertion than standard training. This allows an injured muscle group to be exercised earlier in recovery while reducing the risk of further aggravating an injury. Muscle training helps speed recovery and prevent mass loss after an injury. Combined with the rest of Moveo’s technology, practitioners can deliver the patient an advanced and comprehensive level of care.

“Normally, it is required to have an external load of 70% one-repetition maximum (1-RM) to induce muscle hypertrophy, the physiologic process involved with increasing muscle mass and strength. PBFR allows for muscle hypertrophy at low intensities (i.e. 20-35% 1-RM) while placing a tourniquet on the extremity and applying a calibrated pressure to occlude venous blood out of the limb and restrict arterial blood flow into the limb,” said Suarez.

“The importance of embracing updated technology in rehabilitation cannot be overstated. It not only expedites the recovery process but also enhances the overall quality of care.”

For more information about Moveo Performance, visit moveoperformance.com.