How To Use Ultrasound in Physical Therapy

Medical equipment

An ultrasound machine delivers heat to affected areas using high-frequency sound waves. Heat from the sound waves increases blood flow to deliver vital oxygen and nutrients to the body, reduces inflammation and swelling, relieves pain and promotes healing. A round-headed probe called the transducer delivers the sound waves into the muscles. Hypoallergenic gel is applied to the probe as well as the body to create a friction-free surface. The probe is moved in a circular manner for several minutes. There is no pain associated with this type of heat therapy.

In physical therapy, doctors, physical therapists as well as occupational therapists use ultrasound machines. Nowadays, there are portable ultrasound machines being sold for patients’ use at home. However, before running out and buying one, make sure you have the expressed consent of your doctor or therapist.

Using Ultrasound in Physical Therapy

  • Discuss your case with your doctor or therapist. A proper diagnosis is necessary before it can be determined whether you will benefit from ultrasound treatment.
  • Make sure to be open to your doctor or therapist regarding other medical issues that you are experiencing. For example, let your therapist know if you have nerve damage or have reduced sensation in certain areas. Alert your therapist when you feel too much heat so much so that you feel pain in the surrounding membrane of the bone in the area being treated. Individuals with malignancies or with poor circulation are not advised to undergo ultrasound therapy.
  • Find out which type of ultrasound therapy you will need. Pulse ultrasound and continuous ultrasound treat different types of injuries. The first is used for tendinitis and bursitis. The other is to treat muscle pain and muscle spasm. It can help relax muscles.
  • Let the therapist know if you feel any discomfort. The skin surface never becomes warm in ultrasound therapy. It is the muscles underneath that absorb the heat. Your therapist will rely on you to let her know if you are feeling uncomfortable.
  • During the treatment session, you will need to lie on an examination table. The doctor or therapist will apply hypoallergenic gel to the area that will be treated. The doctor then moves the transducer in a circular manner over the affected area. Through the transducer, the high frequency heat waves will penetrate the skin as far as two inches deep. This gentle heat is what you need to heal your damaged muscle tissue.
  • Allow the doctor or therapist to complete the treatment in the different areas where you are experiencing pain.
  • Find out from your doctor how many times a week you will need to undergo the treatment. The number of treatments will depend on the level of tissue damage you have experienced.

Ultrasound machines are used in physical therapy to help heal damaged muscle tissue. This type of heat therapy is applied to patients suffering from tendinitis, carpal tunnel, muscle spasms, sprains, arthritis, whiplash, herniated discs, fibromyalgia and many more. The proper use of this procedure will ensure faster healing for patients suffering from these medical problems. Always consult your doctor or therapist if you feel discomfort or have questions regarding ultrasound treatment.


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