Therapeutic ultrasound is used to treat soft tissue lesions, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis. It has been used in the United States since the 1950s and has proven to provide therapeutic relief of many conditions affecting the soft tissues of the body.
Therapeutic ultrasound is administered with a machine which produces ultra-high sound frequencies, too high for the human ear to hear. The machine has a special crystal which produces the high frequency vibrations. A small paddle is applied to the skin to administer therapeutic ultrasound. A gel or other medium may be used to aid in the focus and administration of the ultrasound waves. It is a painless treatment and can produce many beneficial effects on soft tissues in the body.
Therapeutic ultrasound produces heat in the body’s tissues which can help to treat injury and as a therapeutic treatment for arthritis and other conditions. The ultrasound waves are focused into the affected area for the most beneficial treatment. Dr. Mac will adjust the frequency according to the depth of treatment and results desired. Most therapeutic ultrasound is performed at 3MHz and may be pulsed or constant. Benefits of therapeutic ultrasound include:
- Increased blood flow to the area
- Increased flexibility of collagen fibers
- Anti-inflammatory benefits
- Tissue regeneration
- Bone strengthening
These benefits are the result of the body’s response to the ultrasound waves. Cavitation is the result of gas filled bubbles which compress and expand because of the ultrasonic wave. Cavitation causes pressure changes in tissue fluids and may increase the flow of fluids in the surrounding tissues. This effect is very beneficial for the treatment of soft tissue injury and repair. Microstreaming is another result of therapeutic ultrasound therapy. It affects cell membrane structure and may help to aid in tissue repair.
Therapeutic ultrasound is a painless and effective treatment method which has been used for over 70 years for the treatment of soft tissue injury, repair, and bone strengthening.