Not your average ultrasound
When most people think about ultrasound, they picture a wand on the belly of a mom-to-be to check the development of a growing fetus. However, there is a different kind of ultrasound called a Therapeutic Ultrasound. This type of ultrasound is a treatment method that chiropractors and other healthcare practitioners use on the body’s soft tissues to reduce inflammation and pain and speed up the healing of injured muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Conditions That Ultrasound May Help
Many types of soft tissue injury may benefit from the use of therapeutic ultrasound, and indications for using it are revealed through your chiropractor’s comprehensive physical evaluation. According to an article in Rheumatology, many people acknowledge the effects of this treatment when the thermal component is used and prefer it over other therapies for musculoskeletal pain. As part of an overall treatment plan, therapeutic ultrasound may be recommended when specific conditions are indicated.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Shoulder pain, including frozen shoulder – a condition that limits your range of motion
- Bursitis – inflammation around joints
- Chronic pain
- ligament strains
- Muscle sprains
- Joint tightness
- Delayed-onset muscle soreness.
Of course, there are some situations in which this type of therapy may not be recommended – such as open wounds, pregnancy, or open fractures.
How This Therapy Works
Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to produce vibrations, which create heat that penetrates deep within the tissues. The heat generated helps relax musculature, increase blood flow, speed up healing, and reduce inflammation of the injured tissue. There are various settings on the ultrasound machine to control the depth of penetration or change the intensity given. Chiropractors are trained to know the different settings on the ultrasound machine that are most beneficial to various injury types.
How Ultrasound Therapy is Applied
Chiropractors will apply a small amount of ultrasound gel to the area of injury. The gel is used as lubrication to allow the ultrasound head to glide over the skin, and it optimizes penetration by reducing the static between the machine and the skin. Your chiropractor will place the round ultrasound head over the injured area and work it around in small, circular motions. You will likely not feel anything happening, although patients report a warming feeling in some instances.
Most people say they enjoy receiving ultrasound therapy due to its relaxing nature. What’s happening, though, is beneficial: an increase in blood flow, reduction in muscle spasms, and activation of the body’s inflammatory responses.
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