Therapeutic Ultrasound For Improved Injury Healing
Musculoskeletal practitioners such as Chiropractors & Physiotherapist’s utilize Therapeutic Ultrasound to assist rehabilitation 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. Your practitioner applies gel to the Ultrasound instrument as well as the skin of the effected area. The practitioner then alters settings such as length of treatment as well as ultrasound frequency which is dependent upon whether the problem is acute, sub-acute or chronic. 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 which respond 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?
Not everyone is able to receive ultrasound therapy. There are contraindications which exist with every manual therapy. Therapeutic Ultrasound should be avoided in people 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. Common sense should prevail and practitioners should not apply ultrasound therapy to the face, eyes or genital regions. While these contraindications exist it’s important to recognize that when used by a highly trained and skilled practitioner it’s unlikely that you’ll 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 Work?
- Thermal effect
- As the sound waves pass from the instrument into the skin they cause a vibration effect within the surrounding tissues. This process leads to the production of heat within the area. Clients may note a slight increase in temperature in the respective treatment area, however this is usually only minor. An increase in tissue temperature causes extensibility of structures including ligaments, tendons, scar tissue and fibrous joint capsules. Heating also assists with reducing pain and muscle tightness much like applying a heat pack would.
- Inflammatory & repair process effect
- It’s 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.