While ultrasound is used for diagnosis and observation in many medical disciplines, such as vascular surgery and obstetrics, chiropractors and physical therapists commonly use ultrasound as a treatment mode. Applied to the patient's skin using a device called a transducer, therapeutic ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to penetrate deep into muscle tissue to relieve pain, increase circulation, and reduce inflammation and spasms. Ultrasound treatment is effective in treating vehicular and sports injuries and can also be helpful in treating the ongoing pain of certain systemic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefits of Ultrasound Therapy
Ultrasound therapy has many advantages over some other treatments. Ultrasound therapy is non-invasive, does not involve the use of medication, is painless and relaxing, and speeds healing. It is helpful in treating a great variety of ailments, including:
- Strained or sprained muscles, ligaments or tendons
- Joint inflammation
- Chronic back or neck pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Scar tissue adhesions
The sound waves employed in ultrasound therapy have a thermal (heating) effect as they absorbed into deep tissue, relaxing muscles, reducing inflammation, and softening scar tissue. This helps to make chiropractic manipulations more effective and physical therapy exercises more beneficial.
The Ultrasound Therapy Procedure
With the patient in a comfortable position, the chiropractor or physical therapist applies gel to the injured area to make it easier for the transducer to slide over the skin. As the sound waves penetrate, the patient feels a relaxing sensation accompanied by slight warmth. Patients are sometimes treated with only ultrasound during an individual treatment session, and sometimes the administration of ultrasound therapy is followed by a chiropractic adjustment or some type of physical therapy. There are no risks to ultrasound therapy and for most patients, it is a pleasant, positive experience. Typically, a patient returns for a series of ultrasound treatments during the course of the therapy.