At Trauma Associates of Florida, our ultrasound therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions that lead to muscle pain and movement dysfunction. Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound waves to deliver deep heat to the treated tissues. The treatments aim to help reduce stiffness, swelling, and pain, increase circulation, and promote pain-free movement.
Ultrasound therapy may be used alone, but in most cases it is used in conjunction with our other therapies to enhance effectiveness. Ultrasound therapy is a painless procedure, and many people find it relaxing, and everyone finds it helpful.
Ultrasound therapy is a treatment approach commonly used in physical therapy. It treats pain conditions and promotes the healing of soft tissue by way of deep heating. Soft tissue includes joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Therapeutic ultrasound is also one of the most common treatments used in the management of soft tissue lesions.
Baby, Fetus, Gender. These are all words we associate with ultrasound, and while an ultrasound can be used to look at these areas, there are many other purposes and uses for these tests. They can be used to relieve pain, heat deep underneath your skin, obstetrics (checking fetus development etc.) physical therapy, drug delivery, and even help to remove brain tumors. Ultrasounds have totally revolutionized the medical field. Doctors can now have a more accurate assessment of our problems without even cutting us open. They can now relieve pain that they never could detect before (below the surface pain.) Ultrasound has opened a world of endless possibilities.
The best part about ultrasound machines is their deep reach. An ultrasound can reach twice as deep as a massage, which means it can get past the dermis layer of our skin and help prevent a whole array of problems including inflammation, possible tumors, muscle pain/spasms. Ultrasound can also reduce calcium buildups and swelling, facilitate the healing of muscles or bones, break up scar tissues, reduce nerve irritation, and even increase blood flow.
How does an ultrasound do all this, you might ask? An ultrasound machine works by creating ultrasonic waves – all sounds above the human ability to hear, which is at about 20,000 hertz- at a frequency of between 2 and 18 megahertz. Lower frequency images are at a lower resolution but will go deeper into the body, while higher frequency images are a much higher resolution but a won’t penetrate as deep because they are more likely to be absorbed into body tissues. The first ultrasound machines only allowed the operator to diagnose the patient but as previously stated they can now be used to perform some therapeutic procedures.
The therapeutic ultrasound method works by activating your skin’s tissue with the use of very high sound waves. The sound waves, between 800,000 Hz and 2,000,000 Hz, are not able to be detected by the human ear.
Types of Ultrasound Therapy: There are two types of this treatment for patients. These two types of therapeutic ultrasound are thermal and mechanical. Both types use sound waves to penetrate your skin and soft tissue. The main difference is the rate at which the sound waves pierce your tissue.
With thermal therapy, the continuous application of sound waves create vibrations in your soft tissue, which causes increased heat and friction. This increases the tissue’s metabolism, which causes it to heal.
Mechanical therapy uses the pulses of sound waves to get within the soft tissue. Even with the warming effect, the pulsing creates an expansion and constriction effect in the small gas bubbles of the tissue. This allows the inflammatory response to lessen. This curtails tissue swelling and diminishes any pain you experience.
The Benefits of This Type of Therapy: Practitioners often use the method of ultrasound therapy to expand the flexibility of any muscles and tendons that may be tight. Deep heating also expedites the healing process by increasing blood flow in the area being treated and lessening the pain from any swelling or edema.
Some of the more common injuries that can be treated with ultrasound therapy include:
- Contracted or tightened joints
- Frozen shoulder
- Ligament injuries
- Torn or strained muscles
Possible Side Effects of Ultrasound Therapy: When you get an ultrasound treatment, the only sensation that you may feel is a slight warming sensation on the area being treated. Some patients also report a pulsing feeling as they are being treated. Note that these sensations are minor in nature and not at all painful. After the procedure is done, you should not experience any after-effects.
The Food and Drug Administration has determined that ultrasound therapy is safe for most people, as long as it is performed by a licensed practitioner.