Services – Therapeutic Ultrasound: Increase Tissue Healing & Injury Rehabilitation
Many musculoskeletal practitioners such as Chiropractors & Physiotherapist’s utilize Therapeutic Ultrasound to assist overall rehabilitation duration and tissue healing. Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to treat medical problems, particularly inflammation arising from sports injuries such as sprains, strains, tendonitis, bursitis and disc injuries. The technique sees the practitioner apply gel to the Ultrasound instrument as well as the skin of the effected area. The practitioner then manipulates various settings such as length of treatment as well as ultrasound frequency which is dependent upon whether the problem is acute, sub-acute or chronic in nature. Therapeutic Ultrasound has been shown to be effective in enhancing tissue healing, reducing tissue tightness, improving local blood flow as well as breaking down scar tissue formation. Therapeutic Ultrasound works by generating a piezoelectric effect caused by vibration of crystals which are situated within the instrument head. These ultrasound waves penetrate through tissue to achieve a desired effect of the practitioner.
What Conditions Can Therapeutic Ultrasound Help?
Given the wide ranging benefits of ultrasound therapy there are many conditions and clinical problems which respond extremely favorably following treatment. Without doubt the most common musculoskeletal complaints which Therapeutic ultrasound is used for are soft tissue injuries such as tendinopathies, swelling and muscle tightness.
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)
- Compartment Syndrome
- Cervical, Thoracic & Lumbar Disc Bulges
- Golfer’s Elbow & Tennis Elbow
- Heel Spur & associated foot problems such as Plantar Fasciitis
- Ligament injury (such as Knee Ligament tears)
- Rotator Cuff Syndrome & Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
Is Soft Tissue Ultrasound Appropriate For Everyone?
In short, the answer is no. As with all modalities and physical therapies there are various contraindications which exist. Therapeutic Ultrasound should be avoided in individuals who have malignancy (i.e tumor or cancer), metal or surgical implants beneath the specific treatment area, individuals suffering from infection or vascular abnormalities as well as being directly applied to the abdomen of women during pregnancy. As well as this it should not be utilized directly over epiphyseal regions (growth plates) in children during periods of growth and development. It goes without saying that common sense should prevail and practitioners should not apply ultrasound therapy to the face, eyes or genital regions. While these contraindications exist it is important to recognize that when used by highly trained and skilled practitioners it is extremely unlikely that clients will experience adverse effects. If you’re unsure if Therapeutic Ultrasound is appropriate for you then we encourage you to contact our Chiropractors directly by calling 1300-003-777.
How Does Therapeutic Ultrasound Actually Work?
We continue to see fantastic results for our clients who receive soft tissue ultrasound. While this is the case, between some medical circles there is conjecture to the exact mechanism of how Ultrasound treatment really works. Below we have included the various suggested hypotheses:
- Thermal effect
- As the sound waves pass from the instrument probe into the skin they effectively cause a vibration effect within the surrounding tissues. This process leads to the production of heat within the respective area. Clients may note a slight increase in temperature in the respective treatment area, however this is usually only minor. In turn this increase in tissue temperature causes enhanced extensibility of structures including ligaments, tendons, scar tissue and fibrous joint capsules. In combination with this, heating may also assist with reducing pain and muscle tightness much like applying a heat pack would do.
- Inflammatory & repair process effect
- It is believed that Ultrasound accelerates the normal duration of the inflammatory process by recruiting mast cells to the injured site. This may cause an increase in blood flow which can be beneficial in the sub-acute phase of tissue injury.
How Is Ultrasound Applied To The Injured Area?
Ultrasound is directly applied to the injured site. As previously discussed, gel is applied to the site as well as the head of the Ultrasound instrument. The instrument is then applied to the injured tissue and moved continuously in a circular motion. Ultrasound treatment typically takes place over a 5-10 minute duration – however will vary depending upon your type of injury, length of injury and severity of symptoms.