Circa 1982, I met Dr. Steve Wolf at a Pan American Rheumatology Meeting in Washington, DC. He had recently published a book on electrotherapy that I was using in my course at Hahnemann University. I told him I was using his book but needed one for my first course, Thermal Agents. I met F. A. Davis acquisitions editor, Bob Martone, shortly thereafter, and bingo, the second book in the Contemporary Perspectives in Rehabilitation was birthed. In this sixth edition, I have turned over the reins to Dr. Jim Bellew. He continues to team with Dr. Tom Nolan and our many authors to produce a high-quality textbook.
Over the decades of my career as a physical therapist, I have seen modalities used or not used in a similar manner as the action potential of a nerve—that is, "all or nothing." On one end of the spectrum we would frown upon "fake and bake" clinics. At the other end of the spectrum there are therapists and documents that profess the lack of need or that discourage use of any modalities for a patient. Somewhere between lies good clinical reasoning.
To instructors, please do not use the material in this book in isolation of other courses you teach. Combine the information into the curriculum related to musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, and integumentary problems. Foster rationale and logical uses of modalities in the patient-centered care model. Teach your students how to appropriately assess the need for a modality within a treatment paradigm and how to appropriately measure the outcome.
Over the last five editions, we have worked and reworked sections and chapters. You can read through the table of contents and peruse the book to appreciate the variety of topics covered by expert clinician authors. Aspects of rational clinical decision-making are threaded throughout the chapters. We want our patients to have the best chance to work toward functional mobility and improve their body structure and function, activities, and participation. The judicious use of modalities is a good place to begin.
To all young faculty and students who aspire to work on projects, be careful what you ask for! I met Steve Wolf in 1982, had a brief discussion, and was on the road to a textbook that is now in its sixth edition.
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