Therapeutic ultrasound is a modality that has been used by therapists for over 70 years. Ultrasound is applied directly to the patient’s skin using round-headed wand and gel. Ultrasonic waves are produced by the vibration of the crystals within the head of the wand. The sound waves that pass through the skin cause a vibration of the local tissues. Maximum energy is absorbed primary by connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, fascia and also scar tissue.
Therapeutic ultrasound may have two types of benefits:
- Thermal effect due to absorption of sound waves
- Non thermal effect due to the vibration of the tissue causing microscopic air bubbles to form, which transmit the vibrations in a way that directly stimulates cell membranes.
This physical stimulation appears to enhance the cell-repair effects of the inflammatory response.
Therapeutic ultrasound has been shown to cause increases in tissue relaxation, local blood flow and scar tissue breakdown. Increase in local blood flow helps to reduce swelling and chronic inflammation and according to some studies can promote bone fracture healing.
A typical ultrasound treatment will take from 5-8 minutes depending on the size of the area and condition being treated.
Some conditions treated with ultrasound:
- Resent soft tissue injuries
- Non-acute joint swelling
- Muscle spasm
- Arthritis of the shoulder and hip joint
- Venous ulcers and pressure sores
- Bursitis and tendinitis
- Nerve root pain
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- Plantar fasciatis
- Ligament pain (eg. low back pain caused by iliolumbar ligament tightness)