Using Therapeutic Ultrasound
A therapeutic ultrasound, despite its name, is not used as a diagnostic tool. Instead, it is a type of physical therapy treatment used by many chiropractors like us here at Mountain View Pain Center. This form of ultrasound is used on the outside of the body, helping to improve the tendons, joints, muscles, and ligaments. The ultrasound machine used in therapeutic ultrasound uses deep heating techniques to provide treatment to the soft tissues of the body. It is commonly done for patients with aches and pains in certain parts of their body, primarily the back, shoulders, and neck.
How the Therapeutic Ultrasound Works
There are two main functions of therapeutic ultrasound, including deep heating and non-thermal effects, also called cavitation. The deep heating function of this type of ultrasound uses heat to treat soft tissues of the body. It increases circulation to tissues like ligaments, tendons and muscles, to improve and speed up the healing process. Pain and discomfort is also relieved during this treatment due to the higher temperature of the soft tissue. Deep heating is excellent for frozen shoulder or other types of shoulder pain, as it not only decreases pain and helps the problem subside, but it improves mobility as well.
This type of ultrasound also provides non-thermal effects, which don’t rely on heat. Instead, there is energy-produced gas bubbles around the soft tissues of your body that can contract and expand, which then offers healing of the damaged tissue. The type and extend of your injury is what determines which type of therapeutic ultrasound needs to be used.
The Ultrasound Equipment
Similar to other types of ultrasound machines, this machine has a transducer tool that is placed directly onto your body, after lubricating it with gel. The head of the transducer gentle massages different parts of your body, providing heat or non-thermal treatments with a circular motion. There are different depths available with this type of machine, depending on the type of injury you have. Typically, the stages of healing each have a different setting on the ultrasound machine.
Does it Hurt?
Ultrasound treatment is not painful and you should not feel anything aside from tingling or a gentle warming sensation when it heats up the tissue. The reason the machine is moved continuously in a circular motion is so no one area of your body gets too much heat. If you feel like the machine has remained in one location for too long, speak up and the physical therapist will move the machine.
What Can be Treated?
A variety of medical conditions can be treated with therapeutic ultrasound, including sprains or ligament injuries, muscle strains, muscle tears, frozen shoulder, bursitis, tendonitis, and joint tightness.
With physical therapy by therapeutic ultrasound, you should be aware that it might take multiple treatment sessions in order to get maximum benefit. It also does not work for everyone, so if after several sessions there is no improvement, ask about alternative treatment options. However, for most patients, this is a very effective treatment for pain and healing. Talk with us at Mountain View Pain Center if you’re interested in therapeutic ultrasound.