When you hear the word ‘ultrasound’, you may think of its application during pregnancy as a tool that can generate images of the womb. This is a type of diagnostic ultrasound that’s used to capture images of organs and other soft tissues.
Our therapeutic ultrasound machine is different in that it uses high frequency soundwaves to produce a fine vibration of the cells in the body. It creates this form of sound therapy for two different effects: thermal, and non-thermal.
Its thermal effects are created due to the absorption of the sound waves. Deep heating tendons, muscles, or ligaments in this way will increase circulation to these tissues, aiding the healing process and decreasing pain.
The non-thermal treatment involves cavitation, microstreaming and acoustic streaming. The desired cavitational effects result from the vibration of the tissue, causing microscopic air bubbles to form; this transmits the vibrations in a way that directly stimulates cell membranes, and it’s this physical stimulation that appears to enhance the restorative effects of the inflammatory response.
What conditions can be treated with therapeutic ultrasound therapy?
Ultrasound is widely used in women’s health physiotherapy for the following conditions:
Carpal Tunnel and De Quervain Syndrome
By directing the ultrasound to the inflamed areas of the wrist and thumb, the converted sound waves create heat in the deep tissue of the hand, opening up the blood vessels and delivering oxygen to the injured tissue to stimulate cell repair.
Mastitis and blocked ducts
Therapeutic ultrasound treatment may help to open the ducts and increase circulation to improve the flow of milk, reduce pain and reduce swelling. In most cases, the ultrasound is effective; our patients often experience an improvement in pain and lump size in just 1 to 3 sessions.
Scar tissue from C-section, tear or episiotomy
The ultrasound works to break up scar tissue by using the vibration from the wave. A mass of scar tissue experiences a pressure change with the sound wave, causing it to break up into progressively smaller masses until it finally disappears for good.
When targeted at the tender point of the site of coccygeal pain, the generated warmth can be used to soothe pain and reduce swelling.
What are the benefits of our therapeutic ultrasound treatments?
Therapeutic ultrasound therapy can be used to:
- Decrease pain by reducing inflammation
- Speed up the healing process by increasing blood flow to the affected area
- Generate heat to increase the flexibility of your soft tissue
- Stimulate the production of collagen in your soft tissue
- Break down scar tissue
In fact, therapeutic ultrasound therapy is effective in treating all manner of pregnancy-related musculoskeletal problems, particularly after-birth injuries and any associated inflammation.
It’s important to note that our therapeutic ultrasound machine is just one of the tools our women’s health physiotherapists in London can call upon to help you get back to your best. Its use is often combined with soft tissue massage, lympathic drainage, kinesiotaping, nerve mobilisation techniques or other forms of manual therapy for the best possible results.
How our ultrasound therapy is performed
We carry out therapeutic ultrasound treatments at our clinic in Greenwich. During your procedure, the affected area will be treated with an ultrasound probe, placed in direct contact with your skin via a transmission coupling gel to increase the efficiency of the treatment. The head of the probe will remain in constant motion. You should not feel any discomfort at all.
When should this treatment be avoided?
There are only a few instances in which we would not recommend therapeutic ultrasound therapy as a suitable form of treatment, specifically, if:
- You are pregnant
- You have an electronic or metal implant near the area that needs to be treated
- You have a recent infection in the area
- You are still bleeding in the area
- You have recently had radiotherapy
- You have heart or circulatory problems, e.g. significant vascular abnormalities including deep vein thrombosis, emboli and severe arteriosclerosis
- You have a cancer or suspected cancer over the area
- Your skin is in poor condition in the area
Like all medical equipment, a therapeutic ultrasound machine is very unlikely to cause any adverse effects when used by highly trained professionals. Please speak to one of our physiotherapists to discuss your options and discover if this is the right mode of therapy for you.