Therapeutic Ultrasound -
Therapeutic ultrasound is a commonly used treatment modality for many different types of musculoskeletal injuries. We review how it works, why it is clinically prescribed, and take a peak at the most commonly used ultrasound therapy machines for clinicians.
Therapeutic ultrasound uses sounds waves to generate mechanical heat inside tissues to bring about an improvement in the way they heal. Sound waves are passed through the applicator tip into the body and in tern cause a heating sensation to form. As the energy is transferred into the body, there's absorption that takes place, as well as, scattering of sound waves that come in contact with the air. The amount of energy that makes its way into the body is based on many factors including the energy characteristics of the ultrasound energy, and whether its being used over fatty tissue or not. Clinicians will often adjust the frequency of the therapeutic ultrasound depending on the location and tissue depth of the treatment area. 1-2MHz settings are described for used for penetration of 3-5cm depths whereas 2-3MHz settings are primarily used for treating more superficial injuries at depths of 1-2cm. Coupling gels are used to help transmit ultrasound waves into the body instead of letting them escape from the transducer head.
Clinicians have adopted therapeutic ultrasound as a viable treatment modality because it safely causes a heating affect at a safe tissue depth thereby increasing circulation to heal an injury. Injuries to the body's tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilage are routinely treated using therapeutic ultrasound. Ultrasound helps to reduce swelling and edema which in turn greatly reduces the pain from the injury. Ultrasound to the stimulated tissues helps facilitate faster healing. Treatment sessions will typically require 15 - 20 minutes per treatment area for an effective application to be performed.
A variety of ultrasound devices exist and clinicians will use these as well as, ultrasound stim combos to achieve their results. These devices can be found in either a physical therapist's or a chiropractor's office. Today's models provide precise treatment over cheaper home models and reduce pain, and inflammation associated with the inflammatory process. Some notable units include the Intelect Transport Ultrasound and the Intelect legend Ultrasound from Chattanooga.