Therapeutic Ultrasound technique is often used to relax the muscles that are too tight around a joint to allow an effective manipulation.
Ultrasound therapy can treat a wide variety of symptoms and conditions, including:
- Herniated discs
- Pinched nerves
- Muscle spasms
- Reduced flexibility
- Myofascial pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Pain caused by scar tissue
- Phantom limb pain
- Sprains and strains
Ultrasound is designed to provide a deep heating effect beneath the skin which encourages blood circulation and relaxation. Ultrasound is completely painless and the most you can expect to feel is slight warmth.
In one application, the use of ultrasound induces hyperemia, or increased blood flow, as tissue is heated to 40 to 45 degrees Celsius. The thermal affects from the energy produced by the sound waves speeds healing and reduces inflammation. The second common application of therapeutic ultrasound is a cavitational effect that results from the vibrating of tissue. The vibration seems to stimulate cell membranes which encourages repairing effects of cells in inflamed areas.
For Chiropractors, ultrasound therapy can be useful for many different patients. The ‘micro-massage’ that ultrasound creates can help reduce swelling, increase blood flow, and decrease pain, stiffness, and spasms, making it a viable therapy for numerous applications. From patients who have suffered car accidents to those that have chronic back pain from any number of sources, ultrasound therapy can help them.
Within a few minutes, the pain should dissipate unless there are other, more serious problems. The pain relief will last for at least several hours. After multiple ultrasound procedures, the pain can be permanently healed if it was only caused by a sprain or muscle stress. However, if there is an underlying cause for your chronic back pain, ultrasound therapy may only be a temporary relief measure, and the issue may require additional therapies/manipulations to resolve the problem.
How Ultrasound Therapy Is Performed?
Your therapist will select a small surface area to work on for anywhere from five to 10 minutes. Gel is applied either to the transducer head or to your skin, which helps the sound waves evenly penetrate the skin. During your ultrasound therapy treatment, your therapist will continually move the transducer head over and around the selected area.
Will I Feel Anything During Ultrasound Therapy?
Some people feel a mild pulsing during ultrasound therapy, while others may feel slight warmth in the skin. Don’t be surprised, however, if you feel nothing at all, apart from the cold gel on your skin. If the area being treated is especially sensitive to touch, you could possibly feel discomfort as the transducer head passes over. Ultrasound therapy, however, should not be painful.
Is Ultrasound Therapy Safe?
Ultrasound therapy is deemed safe by the FDA provided it is performed by a licensed person, and provided the therapist keeps the transducer head moving at all times.
Ultrasound therapy should not be used on these body parts:
- Over the abdomen, pelvic regions or lower back in women who are menstruating or pregnant
- Over lesions, broken skin or healing fractures
- Around the eyes, breasts or sexual organs
- Over any areas with plastic implants
- Over or near areas with malignant tumors
- Over areas with impaired sensations or blood flow
- Over the active bone growth plates of children
Additionally, it should not be used on people who have:
- Malignant or cancerous tissue
- Acute infections
- Risk of haemorrhage
- Severely ischeamic tissue
- Recent history of venous thrombosis
- Exposed neural tissue
- Suspicion of a bone fracture
Finding the treatment modality that decreases your pain is often a trial and error process. If you have not had any improvement in your pain after several ultrasound treatments, ask your therapist or doctor about trying something else.