What is Ultrasound and why do we use it?
In the Physio world electrotherapy tends change like the season depending on the most up to date evidence base. Things come and go as one research group says its brilliant only to be disproved a few months later by another group of researchers.
However, there is one constant in the Electrotherapy world and that is Ultrasound. That is why this is one of the only types of Electrotherapy that we recommend.
Over the years there has been a huge amount of research into Ultrasound and rather than believing that Ultrasound can speed up the healing of all conditions we now have a much clearer picture of what it does work for and what it doesn’t. You can imagine how helpful this is. Therefore gone are the days that Physios recommend US for all conditions, now we can be really specific.
So, we now use Ultrasound to speed up the healing of:
- Bone stress fractures (LIPUS- Low Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound)
- Fractures with Non Union (LIPUS)
- Fracture healing (LIPUS)
- Acute ligament injuries
- Chronic Ligament injuries
- Acute tendon injuries and more
How does Ultrasound work?
For those of you that like to geek out on the science bit (we certainly do!) here are the mechanisms of action of ultrasound.
It works by transmitting high frequency sound waves, focussed around the site of an injury by gently moving an ultrasonic head over the affected area.
Effects on the Inflammatory and Repair Processes:
Ultrasound is thought to accelerate the normal resolution time of the inflammatory process by attracting more mast cells to the site of injury. This causes an increase in blood flow which can be beneficial in the sub-acute phase of tissue injury.
Ultrasound may also stimulate the production of more collagen – the main protein component in soft tissue such as tendons and ligaments. Hence ultrasound may accelerate the proliferative phase of tissue healing.
Ultrasound is thought to improve the extensibility of mature collagen and so can have a positive effect on fibrous scar tissue which may form after an injury.
What other Electrotherapy do we recommend?
So, as we said we have to follow the evidence bases and the most up-to-date research to guide us. This means we don’t end up following faddy trends!
There is great evidence to support the use of TENS for short term pain relief and so this is often something we recommend.
Then there is our fabulous Shockwave Therapy Machine! There is more and more evidence to support this for chronic injuries and we are seeing fantastic results with our patients. For more info see Shockwave Therapy tab.