For the last 80 years, ultrasound therapy has been a non-invasive procedure to treat a wide variety of problems in patients. It is most commonly used to treat swelling, in particular when it is spread over a larger area than usual.
Therapeutic ultrasound is commonly used by physiotherapists for the treatment of their patients. The ultrasound creates waves which are created by the vibration of crystals within the head of the probe. These waves continuously pass through the skin to create a vibration in the tissues underneath and it often can’t be felt by the patient.
The reason for these vibrations is to:
- Relax the tissues
- Increase blood flow to the area
- Reduce swelling and chronic inflammation
- Break down scar tissue
- Increase the rate of healing
- Generate a deep heat.
Ultrasound therapy is a treatment used by physiotherapists to relieve pain and to promote tissue healing. Ultrasound therapy may help reduce your pain if you have any of the following:
- Muscle injuries (eg. hamstring, quadriceps strain)
- Joint swelling (eg. from osteoarthritis, or from an impact injury)
- Ligament injuries (eg. ankle, knee sprain)
- Myofascial pain
- Spinal injuries (eg. lower back pain)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Muscle spasms
- Tendinitis problems (eg. Tennis elbow, Achilles tendonitis)
- Other general sprains and strains
In general, ultrasound therapy can be a very useful tool that complements your treatment and it can take around 5 minutes, depending on the condition and area being treated. There are times when it is unsuitable to use (i.e. an infected joint). Despite its similarity to ultrasound machines, ultrasound therapy is not suitable for issues located near the womb of a pregnant woman.
If you are interested in therapeutic ultrasound or have any questions about adding it to your treatment, make sure you let your practitioner know at your next appointment.