What Is Therapeutic Ultrasound?
Most people are familiar with the use of ultrasound as a diagnostic tool — to diagnose fetal development during pregnancy or for injury diagnosis by using sound waves to create images.
The Apex Centre uses therapeutic ultrasound to help relieve pain and speed healing in soft tissues by using sound waves to stimulate the area beneath the skin. Because the sound waves operate at very high frequencies (between 800,000 Hz and 2,000,000 Hz) they are inaudible.
Therapeutic ultrasound involves the use of high frequency sound waves to create a current in the tissues that enhances circulation and promotes the formation of new collagen.
How Does Ultrasound Therapy Work?
A gel is applied to the treated area, both to reduce friction and to more effectively transmit the sound waves to the affected area through the transducer head of the device, which transmits high frequency sound waves that are alternately compressed and expanded in rapid fashion.
This rapid cycling of the length of the sound wave results in absorption 2-5 cm below the skin surface, where the waves are taken up by connective tissues such as ligaments, tendons and scar tissue.
The resulting increase in blood flow speeds healing and reduces pain by decreasing inflammation while gently massaging the affected area and softening scar tissue without causing further injury.
Ultrasound therapy can have thermal and mechanical properties. Thermal properties are produced when the sound waves are absorbed and excite the tissue. Mechanical properties are produced through cavitation, causing microscopic bubbles which affect cell membranes and trigger the healing response that the body automatically initiates after injury.
Muscle aches, sprains, and strains are often treated with thermal ultrasound therapy, while inflammation, scar tissue and swelling respond well to mechanical therapy.
What Is Therapeutic Ultrasound Used For?
Therapeutic ultrasound is used in conjunction with other therapies and disciplines because it is pain-free and massages the tissue. Some conditions that respond well to ultrasound are plantar fasciitis, lateral epicondylalgia (tennis elbow) and patellar tendinopathy (jumper’s knee).
Can It Burn Your Skin?
Ultrasound therapy is a pain-free procedure. Although the sound waves used in thermal ultrasound create heat when absorbed by the body, the waves themselves are inaudible sound and are not hot. The conductive gel consists mainly of water.
How Apex Can Help
At the Apex Centre we use therapeutic ultrasound to promote healing and reduce pain and inflammation. This treatment is most commonly used in conjunction with:
If you’re suffering from swelling, inflammation or the type of pain typically associated with sprains and strains, you might benefit from therapeutic ultrasound therapy. Call us. We’ll arrange to assess your condition develop a treatment plan that will effectively address your condition.