Therapeutic ultrasound has been used by physiotherapists since the 1940s. Ultrasound waves are generated by a piezoelectric effect – causing crystals in the head of the probe to vibrate. The probe is moved directly over your skin at the affected area. Ultrasound waves pass through the skin and cause a vibration of the soft tissue.
This vibration (cavitation) generates heat and an increase in blood flow. Where heat is not desired (such as a fresh injury), the ultrasound can be pulsed, rather than continuously transmitted.
Ultrasound is particularly useful in reducing swelling and inflammation. Most muscle and ligament injuries benefit from ultrasound treatment.
Ultrasound treatment is of great help in cases of tendonitis, non-acute joint swelling and muscle spasm. We even treat breastfeeding moms with mastitis (blocked and painful milk ducts).
Ultrasound improves healing rate and increases scar tissue breakdown, tissue relaxation and local blood flow.
Ultrasound treatment is safe for most patients. We do not apply ultrasound directly on the abdomen of pregnant patients, directly over active epiphyseal regions (growth plates) in children, or over eyes, skulls or testes. We also do not ultrasound areas with local acute infection, local malignancy, metal implants, vascular abnormalities, or laminectomy in the spinal cord.
Except for the sensation of the movement of the probe on your skin, there is no pain, discomfort or heat during ultrasound treatment.
Depending on the condition, a typical ultrasound treatment takes 3-5 minutes. However, if scar tissue needs to be broken down, it will take longer.