Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Burns -- rehabilitation; Wound Healing


p>The treatment of patients with burns has always been a tedious venture. The burn team may devote many long and painful hours to the patient's rehabilitation. Physical therapists play an important part on this team, especially in the areas of wound care and pain control. The purpose of this literature review is to analyze the physiological mechanisms of continuous passive motion, electrical stimulation, and lasers in regard to wound healing and pain perceptions.

In relation to wound healing, electrical stimulation and lasers were found to enhance the actual healing process, mostly in the early phases of healing. Continuous passive motion (CPM) devices have been shown to assist in the realignment of collagen fibers, thus making the wound stronger.

All three modalities (CPM, electrical stimulation, and lasers) are thought to control pain by the same mechanism, the Gate Control Theory. In addition, electrical stimulation may manage pain by causing the release of endogenous opiate, endorphins, and enkephalins.

In conclusion, these modalities have been shown to have some positive effects on the areas of wound healing and pain control. These findings have been inconsistent in the recording of parameters and overall outcomes when compared to controls. It is recommended by the author that more research in these areas be completed in the U.S. and that consistency of recording become standard.