What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound has been wildly accepted as a therapeutic modality among the medical field by delivering noninvasive soundwaves causing the molecules in our body to vibrate. Depends on the frequency that practitioner prescribed, it has slightly different positive effects to the patient. However, the main goal for ultrasound therapy is to decrease plain, enhance tissue repair, and aid in muscle relaxation.
What are the theories behind it?
The theory behind ultrasound therapy is the soundwaves transmitted by the machine will cause vibrations in deep tissues, thus heat production. Heat can enhance blood flow and reduce pain symptoms.
Usually, frequency range from 0.8MHz to 3MHz are used during the therapy session. Higher frequency will be used in deep tissues treatment since ultrasound energy will be absorbed by superficial tissues.
How does the treatment looks like?
Transducer can be applied directly to patient’s skin with a layer of gel moving in a circular motion or under water. However, direct application is more common in clinical settings. For acute injury, application will be around 3-5 minutes. For chronic injury, the treatment will take 5-10 minutes. Excessive exposure to ultrasound will cause burning to the skin and damage to cell tissues.
Is it safe? What are some contraindications?
Ultrasound therapy is generally safe for most people. However, certain conditions may prohibit patients from receiving ultrasound therapy. People who are pregnant and in the presence of a pacemaker should avoid direct application over the affected area. Moreover, application will not be placed in areas with cancer, fractures, or directly over spinal cord, and epiphyseal growth center.
Ultrasound therapy is very useful to treat pain symptoms and enhance tissue healing. In addition, incorporating exercise therapy such as active rehabilitation can enhance one’s physical function and recover quicker than only with electrical therapy.