Therapeutic Ultrasoundis a procedure that uses ultrasound technologies for therapeutic benefit rather than for diagnosis.
Ultrasound is the use of high frequency sound waves that cannot be heard by humans to stimulate the tissue beneath the surface of the skin. Heating the tissues causes the body to speed up the healing process and can speed recovery from many injuries.
During physical therapy, an ultrasound wand, or probe, is applied directly to a patient’s skin, along with a gel that reduces friction and aids the transmission of the ultrasound waves. By increasing the blood flow to the damaged area, the heating and healing process of the ultrasound is particularly profound on connective tissues such as tendons, ligaments and scar tissue.
The massage of the tendons, muscles and ligaments by the sound waves also helps soften scar tissue, which can be responsible for reduced flexibility and range of movement (ROM) of the damaged area.
The increased blood flow to the soft tissue has the added benefit of reducing the swelling and can immediately result in decreased pain.