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    Electrophysical Agents for the Rehab Professional

    Therapeutic Ultrasound, Short Wave Diathermy, and Electrotherapy for Pain Modulation



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    Appropriate Disciplines

    • Certified Occupational Therapy Asst
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Physical Therapist
    • Physical Therapy Asst

Course Description

This online video course is designed to educate rehabilitation therapists (occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, and athletic trainers) in the use of electro-­physical agents in the areas of thermotherapy, therapeutic ultrasound, short wave diathermy, and electrical stimulation for pain modulation. 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 and demonstrated. Safe and effective parameter selection, dosing of intensity, and documentation of treatment will be emphasized during the lecture and demonstration portions of the course.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast superficial thermotherapy physical agents and deep heating physical agents
  • Administer physical agents to increase blood flow and cellular activity
  • Discuss tissue temperature increases necessary to create therapeutic heating
  • Combine thermal agents and stretching to increase soft tissue extensibility
  • 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 based on phases of tissue healing
  • Correctly select and apply the most appropriate ultrasound and Short wave diathermy parameters for thermal and non-­- thermal applications
  • Describe the three types of electrical current used in electrotherapy
  • Apply knowledge of pulse characteristics (amplitude, phase duration, pulse duration, and frequency) to administering effective electrotherapy treatments to decrease pain
  • Describe the characteristics of commonly used electrotherapy waveforms in pain management
  • Inhibit pain using Gate Control Theory
  • Inhibit pain by stimulating the release of Endorphins
  • Apply concepts related to the neurobiology of pain and neurophysiology of TENS to effectively manage pain
  • Select the most appropriate modality and parameter settings to trigger physiological responses
  • Select evidence-­-based modality parameters

Joe Gallo


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 through CIAO Seminars. He also receives royalties for the purchase of his recorded courses and the purchase of his Ultrasound book.
Non-Financial Disclosures: Dr. Gallo uses modalities in his clinical practice.

80 Minutes
Electrotherapy for Pain Management
10 Minutes
Introduction to Heat Therapy
60 Minutes
Therapeutic Ultrasound
30 Minutes
Short Wave Diathermy
3.0 Hours

Delivery VIA:

  • Online - This course is offered in an online, on demand format.

Contact hours pre-approved for:

  • 3.0 Hours
  • CIAO is an AOTA Approved Provider #4119 (OT/COTAs)
  • This course meets PDU Requirements for NBCOT (3 PDUs)
  • As an IACET Authorized Provider, CIAO offers CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard
  • CIAO is authorized by IACET to offer 0.3 CEUs for this program
  • CIAO is an Illinois Approved Provider for PT/PTA Continuing Education
  • CIAO is recognized as an Approved Provider for PT/PTAs by the NYSE Dept State Board for PT
  • This activity is provided by the Texas Board of PT Examiners Accredited Prov #2202009#TX
  • This activity meets continuing competence requirements for PT/PTA license renewal in TX
  • The assignment of Texas PT CCUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products or clinical procedures by TPTA or TBPTE
  • CIAO is a BOC Approved Provider #P2881 (ATs)
  • This program is eligible for a maximum of 3 Category A hours/CEUs. ATs should claim only those hours actually spent in the educational program.
  • Approved for:
  • 3.0 Hours PT/PTAs in AR, IL, MD, NM, TN(2018-570), TX(3 CCUs)
  • 3.6 Hours PT/PTAs in NY
  • 3.0 Hours OT/COTAs in FL(CE Broker #20-687552)
  • 3.0 Hours OT/COTAs in CA (#25-P11) Advanced Practice area of Physical Agent Modalities

Course meets requirements for:

  • PT/PTAs in AK, AL, AZ, CO, CT, DE, DC, GA, HI, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MA, MI, MO, MT, NE, NH, NC
  • PT/PTAs in ND, OR, PA, 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 recognized on the NBCOT Provider Registry (meets PDU requirements for NBCOT)


    "Thanks! Well organized!"

    - Sylvania, OH / Feb 2019