Passive treatment or active treatment in Physical Therapy

In Physical Therapy, physical agents are applied to prevent and treat injuries and pathologies. There is a passive part in the treatment (bandage, massage, heat, currents, mobilizations …) and active part (exercises and movements) but which is better? Passive or active techniques?

Characteristics of passive and asset treatment

By passive treatment we understand the techniques that are performed without the need for voluntary movement of the patient. If there is movement, it is the physiotherapist who mobilizes or places the body segments, while the patient collaborates but does not have to participate.

They would be techniques such as application, analgesic currents or electrostimulation, PPE technique , dry puncture, massage, mobilizations, manipulations, application of cold or heat for therapeutic purposes …

In the active treatment, exercises or maneuvers are usually carried out involving the patient, who is the one who performs the movement. Therefore, it requires learning and participation of the patient, both at the physical level (perform the movement, maintain the correct posture …) and mental level (learn the exercise and corrections, repeat as directed …)

The choice of treatment: Active or passive

When choosing whether it is better active or passive treatment, it all depends on the type of injury and the stage in which you are. As a general rule, the tendency is to start with passive treatment but to evolve to active techniques as soon as possible.

The recommended progression is to reduce the use of passive techniques when possible, maintaining the necessary ones (for example, for pain relief, to stabilize a joint …) but to incorporate more and more active elements, such as an exercise program therapeutic.

The advantage of active treatment is obvious, especially if it is exercise: the patient learns it to do it at home, and maintain the improvements for a longer time. In this way, treatment can have more and better results in the short, medium and long term.

In addition, there are problems that result from over-exertions, incorrect gestures, poor body alignment, poor physical condition … With this, it is necessary to correct the cause and the person / patient learns that he / she can do exercises and activities to maintain and improve your health.

So , in conclusion, we will point out that, although it is common practice to include passive and active techniques in the different stages of an injury treatment in the same treatment session, active treatment has a number of advantages that make it the choice optimal, whenever possible, according to the characteristics of the subject and its problem.

And you, what types of treatments have you done in physiotherapy? Only passive techniques? Active and exercise techniques? Leave us comments clarifying the subject.

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