Ultrasound is classified as an electrotherapeutic modality that is a painless technique of moving a handheld probe that emits ultrasound waves over an area of injury.
The Physics of ultrasound is complex but essentially the effects can be broadly separated into thermal and non-thermal.
Non Thermal Effects
Though it is not possible to purely utilise non-thermal or thermal effects, by choosing to “pulse” the ultrasound waves the practitioner will bias towards the non-thermal effects.
Pulsing the ultrasound waves causes the formation of stable gas bubbles in the tissue which eventually causes a change in cell membrane permeability. This increases the transport of substances in and out of the cell increasing processes such as protein synthesis, which is of course vital to the healing of our tissues.
We can summarises process as the “excitation” of the cell.
When Do We Use This?
This type of treatment is typically used in the “inflammatory” phase of a healing process, not to reduce inflammation (as is often the misconception) but to optimise it and hasten the onset of the next phase of healing - proliferation, the laying down of collagen.
When dealing with trigger points, predominantly tight tissues or tissues in a state of chronic inflammation or degradation your practitioner will most likely choose a more continuous waveform.
At this setting you will feel a gentle heat in the tissues. Temperatures between 40-45 degrees celsius will induce hyperaemia (increased blood flow) and are also known to help the resolution of a chronically inflamed state.
For more treatments and services we provide under physiotherapy, please contact us.