Ultrasound Therapy – Wellness

Introduction – Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasonic waves are sound waves of a high frequency produced by mechanical vibration of the metal probe or head of the ultrasound machine. This probe is moved over the surface of the skin in the area of the lesion. A special ultrasound gel is placed on the skin to ensure maximal contact between the treatment head and the surface of the skin. This is because the sound waves dissipate in atmosphere on contact with air.

Effects of Ultrasonic waves:

There is still very little evidence to explain the therapeutic effects of the ultrasound waves in healing of the injured tissue. However, it finds multiple uses with practitioners world-wide. There are number of the theories by which the ultrasound is postulated to cause therapeutic effects.

  1. Thermal Effect:

The ultrasound waves pass from the treatment head into the skin surface and they cause vibration of the surrounding tissues, particularly those containing collagen. These vibrations lead to the production of heat within the tissue. In most cases, this cannot be felt by the patient themselves. The increase in temperature causes an increase in the flexibility of structures such as ligaments, tendons, scar tissues and fibrous joint capsules. The heating can also help in reduce pain and muscle spasm as well as to promote the healing process.

  1. Effects on the Inflammatory and Repair Processes:

One of the important proposed benefits of ultrasound therapy is that it is postulated to reduce the healing time of various soft tissue injuries.

Ultrasound dosage can be modified in intensity as well as frequency of the ultrasound beam.
Ultrasound can accelerate the normal resolution time of the inflammatory process by attracting more mast cells to the site of injury. The waves can also causes an increase in blood flow which is beneficial in the sub-acute phases of tissue injury. 

Ultrasound can also stimulate the production of more collagen which is the main protein component in soft tissue such as tendons and ligaments. By this mechanism, the ultrasound accelerates the proliferative phase of tissue healing.

Mature collagen can also become more extensible and hence can have a positive effect on the fibrous scar tissue which is formed after an injury.

Application of Ultrasound:

Ultrasonic waves having frequencies between 800 to 2400 Khz are normally applied by using a small metal treatment head known as probe which emits the ultrasonic waves. This is moved continuously over the skin surface having the lesion for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Repeated treatments may be necessary 1-2 times daily in more acute injuries and sometimes in chronic cases.

Ultrasound dosage can be modified in intensity as well as frequency of the ultrasound beam. In this case, lower frequencies of the ultrasound provide a greater depth of penetration and it is used where the injured tissue is suspected to be situated at deeper planes. On the other hand, higher frequency doses are used for structures situated closer to the surface of skin.

Indication

  1. Post-amputation pains
  2. Locked jaw
  3. Trigeminal neuralgia
  4. Chronic lower leg ulceration
  5. Arthrosis
  6. Neck arthritis
  7. Neck and low back pains
  8. Ischemic pain syndrome
  9. Scars

Contraindications for Use:

As ultrasound makes modifications in the tissue repair process and so it is also possible that it can affect diseased tissuesin an abnormal manner. In addition, the proposed effect to increase the blood flow may also function deleteriously to spread the malignancies around the body. Therefore, there are number of contraindications to the use of therapeutic ultrasonic waves:

  1. Malignant or cancerous tissues
  2. Acute infections
  3. Severe tissue ischemia
  4. Risk of bleeding or hematoma formation
  5. Recent history of venous thrombosis
  6. Exposed and damaged neural tissue
  7. Suspicion of a bone fracture
  8. Patientis pregnant or might be pregnant
  9. The use of ultrasound is not recommended in regions of the gonads (sex organs), the active bone growth plates of children, or the eye.

Phonophoresis:

This treatment involves applying a medicine with the use of ultrasounds. Medicines can have additional therapeutic effects in this mode of delivery as they are well-transported into deeper layers of the skin via the waves of specific strength.

It is helpful in the cases of:

  1. Post-injury conditions like dislocations, sprains, and joint rotation
  2. Rheumatoid pain syndromes
  3. Neurological pain syndromes such as radiculopathy

- Links of interest: Twitter Wellness

This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.


 

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