Therapeutic ultrasound has been around since the 1940’s and is just one of many effective and common techniques used in modern-day physiotherapy. This process provides deep-heating effects to different soft-tissue parts of the body such as tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The process increases blood circulation to these tissues, which in turn helps the body’s healing process and decreases the pain. In addition, deep heating may increase the flexibility of tight tendons and muscles which will improve the tissues’ range of motion.
Energy can be introduced to your body via ultrasound and this can create rapid expansion and contraction of microscopic gas bubbles near the soft tissues. This process is known as cavitation and it can speed up your cellular processes and help the healing of the tissue. Physiotherapists apply ultrasound to their patients with a machine which comes with a probe, wand or round sound head (ultrasound transducer). Before the machine is used, the therapist will apply gel to a specific part of the body as well as the sound head and then slowly move the transducer in a constant circular motion over the body area.
The gel helps reduce friction and also helps transmit the ultrasound waves. The intensity and depth of the penetrating ultrasound waves can be controlled by the therapist via the machine’s settings and it will depend on the specific injury and the stage of healing the patient is in. If the soft tissue is inflamed the therapist might use a topical medication as well as ultrasound gel to help treat it in a process known as phonophoresis. As far as feeling ultrasound treatment goes. Most patients may just feel the gel and perhaps a slight tingling or warming sensation.
The ultrasound waves pass through a patient’s skin and vibrate the soft tissues with a deep heat even though the patient can’t feel a warming sensation. There are some injuries which don’t require a deep-heat effect such as a new injury that has acute inflammation. In this case, the ultrasound waves are applied in pulses rather than on a continuous basis. Ultrasound is also known to relax your tissues, break down scar tissue and increase your blood flow around the affected area. An increased blood flow can help reduce swelling and heal fractured bones.
Typically, an ultrasound treatment will last between three and five minutes depending on the injury and size of the body area which is being treated. However, if the goal of the treatment is to break down scar tissue it could last longer. There are numerous types of common injuries which can be treated by ultrasound at Fit Physiotherapy. These include: tendonitis, frozen shoulder, bursitis, muscle tears, spasms and strains, and ligament sprains and tight joints. However, ultrasound alone will rarely heal your pain or injury as it is typically combined with other aspects of physiotherapy such as active physical exercise and stretching etc.
FIT Physiotherapy is located in Newmarket, Ontario. Our modern wellness clinic provides physiotherapy and massage treatments for chronic conditions and sports and work related injuries. Contact us today to speak to one of our physio professionals and to book you appointment online.