PT snippet: Intermittent Pneumatic Compression

Intermittent pneumatic compression is one of the many PT interventions that is being used in clinics. In our curriculum, it is taught under Physical Therapy I (Introduction to Patient Care). It is mainly intended for the management of swelling of the extremities. In the photo above, my left upper extremity is wrapped in a specialized sleeve that is attached to a machine that pumps air through the tubes (white, blue, red) to inflate the sleeve. Controlled pressure will build up inside the sleeve and that will consequently apply pressure into the swollen limb. The machine that we used in this photo gives a sequential type of compression wherein it inflates the most distal compartment of the sleeve first (where the red tube is attached), followed by the middle compartment (with blue tube) and lastly the most proximal compartment (with white tube). This facilitates movement of fluid from distal to proximal draining it towards the heart. It is advisable that the treatment be done with the limb(s) elevated (not shown in the photo).

This photo was taken yesterday during a review session. I just wanted to share this to my friends who, up til now, are still puzzled of what physical therapists really do. This is not the entirety of our practice, NOR IS MASSAGE. But I'm hoping that with this short entry (and my future ones), I can impart change on the old notion on the scope of our practice. Watch out for my future PT snippets! And if you do have questions, you can always email me or leave a comment below.

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