What Is Therapeutic Ultrasound?
Therapeutic ultrasound is widely used by physio and sports therapists to treat soft tissue injuries. Treatment is achieved by applying the head of an ultrasound in direct contact with your skin via transmission coupling gel. The ultrasound head generates and receives sound waves using a principle called the piezoelectric effect (pressure electricity). These ultrasound waves pass through your skin to cause vibration of the soft tissue in the area applied, making them very useful for targeting even the smallest of injuries. You may feel a very small amount of heat, tingling/vibration or nothing at all during the procedure so it is a much nicer, painless treatment method for your pain. If the injury site has acute inflammation then the ultrasound can be pulsed, rather than continuously transmitted, to avoid heat being generated which may aggravate the inflammation.
The Benefits of Therapeutic Ultrasound
Increased Blood Flow
The application of therapeutic ultrasound increases blood flow to the targeted area, helping to reduce swelling and inflammation and speed up the healing process. It is therefore commonly used to treat tendonitis, muscle spasms/knots and non-acute joint swelling.
This treatment is particularly effective in the treatment of scarred tissue, working by breaking it down gradually over a course of sessions to soften the tissue, improve range of movement and improve circulation.
Tissue Heating and Relaxation
This is achieved by deep heating the muscle tissue due to the vibration of the sound waves which increases the elasticity and reduces the tightness that is sometimes present due to overuse. The same can be achieved for a frozen shoulder and will often be applied prior to performing a range of gentle exercises to increase motion. These treatments reduce tension in your body and enable you to relax, thereby improving your ability to sleep.
How Long is Each Treatment?
Treatment sessions are not long and vary depending upon the condition being treated. Usually, patients can expect the treatment to take approximately 3 to 5 minutes, although scar tissue breakdown can take longer.
During treatment sessions the ultrasound head is constantly moving, ensuring that you feel no discomfort at all whilst your injury absorbs the waves of energy that will stimulate your body to repair.
Therapeutic ultrasound is not a stand-alone treatment. We suggest its use in conjunction with other methods that Perform Sports Therapy can also provide, to further reduce pain and swelling and to accelerate the healing process.