Therapeutic ultrasound an be used for many things, reducing swelling from a sprain and increasing blood flow are the most commonly known uses.
Ultrasound is applied using a round-headed wand or probe that is put in direct contact with the patient’s skin over water based ultrasound gel. This is used in order to reduce friction and assist in the transmission of the ultrasonic waves. Sound waves pass through the skin and cause a vibration of the local tissues, this vibration, or cavitation, causes a deep heating locally, though usually no sensation of heat will be felt by the patient. For a fresh injury with acute inflammation, the ultrasound can be pulsed rather than continuously transmitted to reduce the heating effect.
Ultrasound produces many effects other than just the potential heating effect. It has been shown to cause increases in tissue relaxation, local blood flow, and scar tissue breakdown. The effect of the increase in local blood flow can be used to help reduce local swelling and chronic inflammation.
A typical ultrasound treatment will take from 3-14 minutes depending on the size of the area being treated and the intensity required. In cases where scar tissue breakdown is the goal, this treatment time can be longer, the patient should feel no discomfort at all. We use Ultrasound Therapy in combination with our hands-on approach to reduce inflammation and promote healing, call us now if you think you would benefit from Ultrasound Therapy. Our Physiotherapist Robert uses Ultrasound in combination with his other treatment modalities, read about him here
The first large scale application of ultrasound was around World War II. Sonar systems were being built and used to navigate submarines. It was realized that the high intensity ultrasound waves that they were using were heating and killing fish. This led to research in tissue heating and healing effects. Since the 1940s, ultrasound has been used by physical and occupational therapists for therapeutic effects. Read more about Ultrasound here