What is therapeutic ultrasound?
Therapeutic ultrasound has been used by physiotherapists since the 1940s. Therapists apply ultrasound using the head of an ultrasound probe. They place the probe in direct contact with your skin using gel. An effect known as the piezoelectric effect generates the ultrasound waves. This is caused by the vibration of crystals. These crystals are in the head of the probe.
How does therapeutic ultrasound work?
The ultrasound waves that pass through the skin cause a vibration of the local soft tissues. This vibration can cause heating locally. Patients do not usually feel any heating effect. There can be situations where a heating effect is not desirable. In these situations the ultrasound is pulsed rather than continuously transmitted. The intensity of the ultrasound is adjusted depending on the desired effect. It is measured in watt/cm².
What are typical conditions therapeutic ultrasound treats?
An increase in local blood flow can help reduce local swelling and chronic inflammation. According to some studies it can also promote bone fracture healing.
Therapists use greater intensity in cases where scar tissue breakdown is the goal.
Therapeutic ultrasound demonstrates increases in:
- healing rates
- tissue relaxation
- tissue heating
- local blood flow
- scar tissue breakdown
The most common conditions treated with ultrasound include:
Ultrasound is also used in diagnostics – find out more about diagnostic ultrasound here.
Ultrasound treatment Details:
Therapists will include ultrasound treatment, where appropriate, alongside physiotherapy treatment