Benefits Of Therapeutic Ultrasound

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Ultrasound is used in many ways in healthcare. It can be used to diagnose diseases such as deep vein thrombosis, gallstones, and of course, determining the gender of babies in the womb. While diagnostic sonography is very important, there is another use for ultrasound that is often overlooked. Therapeutic ultrasound is used in physical therapy and it is one of the most important tools for a physical therapist. In this paper I will discuss how therapeutic differs from diagnostic ultrasound, how it works, the different types and how they are applied, who uses it, and how it benefits the patient. Ultrasound is defined as “an inaudible sound in the frequency range of approximately 20,000 to 10 billion cycles/second.” (Venes, 2013). Diagnostic …show more content…
These types include thermal and mechanical. Thermal ultrasound uses a continuous pulse. The sound waves cause vibrations in the tissue which increases heat and causes a warming effect. This warming effect encourages healing in the tissues by increasing blood flow, reducing muscle spasms, and promoting healing with the production of collagen which is found in ligaments and tendons. (Ultrasound Therapy). Hyperemia, also known as increased blood flow, is one of the distinct benefits of ultrasound use in therapy because it heats the tissue to approximately 45 degrees Celsius. (Therapeutic Ultrasound). It is important not to heat the tissues too much because damage can occur as a result of too much heat. Mechanical ultrasound therapy uses pulses of sound waves rather than continuous. Mechanical ultrasound still has a minor heating effect on the tissues but also causes expansion and contraction in the tiny gas bubbles of the soft tissues. This helps to decrease the inflammation which decreases pain. (Jacques, …show more content…
As previously stated, the heating of the tissues facilitates healing and decreases inflammation but it also causes muscles to relax. After the muscles are heated to 40-45 degrees Celsius, the tissues are relaxed and can be stretched. Stretching of the tissues can be done for 10 minutes following the heating which will decrease overall pain and soreness. (Speed, 2001). Vasodilation, which is the opening of blood vessels, is another benefit of therapeutic ultrasound. (Davis). The increased blood flow to the damaged area speeds up the healing process, allowing the patient to return to activities sooner. Therapeutic ultrasound is also very safe for patients. “Ultrasound therapy is deemed safe by the FDA provided it is performed by a licensed person, and provided the therapist keeps the transducer head moving at all times.” (Jacques, 2014). While there are many benefits to therapeutic ultrasound, it may not work for everyone. Ultrasound therapy is much like pain medication, it either works very well, or not at all and finding the right treatment that decreases pain is often a trial and error process. (Jacques, 2014) In conclusion, there are many different ways to use therapeutic ultrasound such as different levels of frequency, pulsed or continuous sound waves, the use of phonophoresis, and thermal, or mechanical. Each type has a different benefit toward the patient. The type of treatment given depends on the anatomy being

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