Physical Agent Modalities for the Rehab Professional - Green Track
30 Hrs
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Course Calendar
Course Brochure
Appropriate Disciplines:
• Physical Therapist
• Physical Therapy Asst
• Occupational Therapist
• Certified Occupational Therapy Asst
• Athletic Trainer
Course Level:
• Beginner
  • Course Description
  • Objectives
  • Instructors
  • Agenda
  • CEU's
  • Reviews
This course has been approved by the New Jersey Occupational Therapy Advisory Council for 3.0 contact hours Pursuant to: N.J.A.C 13:44-5.4.

Physical Agent Modalities (PAMs) is designed to educate occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants in the use of electro-physical agents in the areas of electrical stimulation (pulsed, alternating, and direct current), and superficial and deep thermal agents. This course is also open to PT/PTAs and Athletic Trainers. The biophysical principles of each physical agent will be presented. The physiologic effects, indications, precautions and contraindications will be emphasized, along with the best current practices. The appropriate selection and application of physical agents, based on the existing pathology, impairments, and functional limitations will be discussed, demonstrated, and performed by participants. Safe and effective parameter selection, dosing of intensity, and documentation of treatment will be emphasized during the lecture and laboratory portions of the course. This course will prepare the participant in the theory of and clinical application of transcutaneus electrical stimulation (TENS), neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), functional electrical stimulation (FES), iontophoresis, phonophoresis, and continuous and pulsed therapeutic ultrasound. The course includes lectures, laboratory sessions and case studies. The course length and content has been designed to meet the PAMs requirements of the specific states where it is offered. Please review the course Agenda below for any additional required content.

This course meets OT Physical Agent Modalities didactic training requirements in: FL, ID, IL, MA, MD, MN, ND, NH, NJ, NM, PA, SD, WI, WV

Please bring lab attire that allows for access to the shoulder (e.g. loose fitting t-shirt, tank top etc.)

PRICING: Group pricing may be established by submitting the number of registrations listed in the pricing drop down (on next page). Employees of facilities that have established VitalStim groups may register at the same group level for PAMs. (Eg: HealthSouth is a Super Group for VitalStim so their employees may also register for this course at the Super Group rate.)

AOTA Classification Codes
Domain of OT: Performance Skills, Activity Demands
OT Process: Intervention
Course Objectives
At the completion of thie course, participants will be able to:
  • Describe the characteristics of commonly used waveforms
  • Select the most appropriate modality and parameter settings to trigger physiological responses
  • Inhibit pain using Gate Control Theory and by stimulating the release of Endorphins
  • Inhibit sympathetic nervous system tone
  • Facilitate and inhibit muscle recruitment
  • Select the appropriate protocol to strengthen muscle tissue
  • Discuss terminology and principles related to the application of ultrasound
  • Discuss indications and contraindications of therapeutic ultrasound
  • Identify common myths and errors in parameter selection and application of ultrasound therapy
  • Discuss clinically relevant research that will guide participants in selecting parameters of treatment that yield more predictable thermal and non-thermal responses in human tissue
  • Select dosage for therapeutic ultrasound based on tissue healing stages and desired therapeutic outcome.
  • Describe the effects of continuous and pulsed short wave diathermy
  • List the indications and contraindications of short wave diathermy
  • Outline the application of short wave diathermy to phases of healing
  • Describe the biochemical and physiologic effects of LLLT
  • Manipulate the treatment parameters of LLLT to appropriately dose LLLT in clinical practice
  • Integrate the application of LLLT into the comprehensive treatment plan
  • Select evidence-based modality and parameter
  • Inhibit pain using Gate Control Theory
  • Inhibit pain by stimulating the release of Endorphins
  • Facilitate and inhibit muscle recruitment
  • Select the appropriate electrical stimulation protocol to Strengthen or stretch muscle tissue
  • Facilitate muscle recruitment in specific clinical presentations: , wrist drop foot, shoulder subluxation, flaccid hand.
  • Identify and treat trigger points using electrophysical agents and manual techniques
  • Correctly apply surface electrodes and electrotherapy treatment protocols to
  • Apply Highvolt pulsed current and NMES techniques to manage edema
  • Apply Highvolt pulsed current and NMES techniques to manage edema
  • Combine thermal agents and stretching to increase soft tissue extensibility
  • Administer physical agents to increase blood flow and cellular activity
  • Correctly select and apply the most appropriate ultrasound and Short wave diathermy parameters for thermal and non-thermal applications.
  • Correctly apply low level laser in protocols designed to decrease pain and promote tissue healing
  • Formulate and execute therapeutic interventions integrating physical modalities for simulated patient problems.
  • Accurately document physical agent modality applications delivered in patient care
Joe Gallo
Joseph A. Gallo, DSc, ATC, PT.
Dr. Joe Gallo earned his BS in Physical Education and Athletic Training and his Master’s in Physical Therapy. He also holds a Doctor of Science degree in Physical Therapy. He currently serves as Director and Professor in the Salem State University Athletic Training Program. He also held faculty appointments in various physical therapy and physical therapist assistant programs in his over 20 year career as an educator. Dr. Gallo is currently a Certified Instructor for the VitalStim® Therapy Specialty Program teaching NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. He has taught over 300 continuing education workshops to rehabilitation specialists across the United States. Joe’s research on electrophysical agents has been published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, and the Chinese journal of Sportsmedicine. In addition to his teaching and research, Joe has also maintained clinical practice in a variety of settings throughout his career.

Financial Disclosures: Dr. Gallo receives an honorarium for speaking/teaching live courses. He also receives royalties for his recorded courses and the purchase of his Ultrasound book.

Non-Financial Disclosures: Dr. Gallo uses modalities in his clinical practice.

  Day 1
  07:00 - 07:15   Registration (snack/refreshments provided)
  07:15 - 07:30   Review of electro-physical agents
  07:30 - 09:45   Electrotherapy: History, types, concepts, waveforms
  09:45 - 10:00   Break
  10:00 - 11:45   Electrotherapy: Indications
  11:45 - 12:30   Lunch (on your own)
  12:30 - 01:00   Electrotherapy continued: Indications
  01:00 - 02:30   Electrotherapy: Procedures, Clinical Applications, Physiological Effects
  02:30 - 02:45   Break
  02:45 - 04:30   Electrotherapy: Precautions, contraindications, patient education, examples, rationale, research
  04:30 - 06:30   Electrotherapy Key Principles

  Day 2
  07:00 - 09:00   Choosing and Using Modalities - Electrotherapy (case studies and lab)
  09:00 - 10:00   Electrotherapy/Superficial thermal agents (case studies and lab)
  10:00 - 10:15   Break
  10:15 - 12:30   Advanced Decision Making - Electrotherapy (lab)
  12:30 - 01:15   Lunch (on your own)
  01:15 - 02:00   Choosing and Using Modalities - Iontophoresis (case studies and lab)
  02:00 - 02:45   Short Wave Diathermy: History, fundamental concepts, physiologic effects, dosing
  02:45 - 03:00   Break
  03:00 - 04:00   Short Wave Diathermy: precautions, contraindications, patient education, examples, rational
  04:00 - 04:45   Key Principles: Superficial thermal agents/Short Wave Diathermy
  04:45 - 05:45   Choosing and Using Modalities - Short Wave Diathermy (lab)
  05:45 - 06:15   Advanced Decision Making - Short Wave Diathermy (lab)

  Day 3
  07:00 - 09:00   Ultrasound: history, effects, examples, recommendations, physiologic effects, thermal vs. non-thermal
  09:00 - 10:00   Key Principles - Ultrasound
  10:00 - 10:15   Break
  10:15 - 12:15   Choosing and Using Modalities: Ultrasound (Case Studies and Lab)
  12:15 - 01:00   Lunch (on your own)
  01:00 - 02:00   Advanced Decision Making - Ultrasound (lab)
  02:00 - 02:45   Low Level Laser - history, fundamental concepts, biophysical effects, dosing
  02:45 - 03:00   Break
  03:00 - 04:15   Low Level Laser: precautions, contraindications, patient education, examples, rational, research
  04:15 - 04:45   Key Principles - Low Level Laser Therapy
  04:45 - 05:45   Choosing and Using Modalities - Low Level Laser Therapy (case studies and lab)
  05:45 - 06:15   Advanced Decision Making - Low Level Laser Therapy (lab)

Contact hours pre-approved for:
  • CEUs: 3.0 (30 hours) ATs, OT/COTAs, PT/PTAs
  • CIAO is an AOTA Approved Provider #4119 (OT/COTAs)
  • CIAO is a BOC Approved Provider #P2881 (ATs)
  • This program is eligible for a maximum of 30 Category A hours/CEUs. ATs should claim only those hours actually spent in the educational program.
  • This course meets PDU requirements for NBCOT (37.5 PDUs Clinical Lab Assessment)
  • CIAO is recognized as an Approved Provider for PT/PTAs by the NYSE Dept State Board for PT
  • This activity is provided by the TX Board of PT Examiners Accredited Prov. #1902009TX
  • This activity meets the continuing competence requirements for PT/PTA license renewal in TX
  • CIAO is an Illinois Approved Provider for PT/PTA Continuing Education
  • 30.0 Hrs OT/COTAs in NJ (New Jersey Occupational Therapy Advisory Council N.J.A.C 13:44-5.4)
  • 30 Hrs OT/COTAs in CA (#25-P8) Advanced practice area of Physical Agent Modalities
  • 30 Hrs. OT/COTAs in FL - CEBroker #20-468186
  • 30.0 Hrs PT/PTAs in IL, NJ (2016-348), NY, TX(30 CCUs)
Contact hours applied for:
  • PT/PTAs in NJ
Course meets requirements for:
  • This course meets OT Physical Agent Modalities didactic training requirements in: FL, ID, IL, MA, MD, MN, ND, NH, NJ, NY, NM, PA, SD, WI, WV
  • AL, AK, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, ME, MA, MI, MO, MT, NE, NH, NC, ND, OR, RI, SC, SD, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY
The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.
CIAO is regognized on the NBCOT Provider Registry (meets PDU requirements for NBCOT)
CIAO has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). In obtaining this accreditation, the (organization name) has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, (organization name) is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.
CIAO is approved by the Board of Certification, Inc. to offer continuing education for Certified Athletic Trainers.