Ultrasound is defined as an acoustic vibration with frequencies above the limit of audible frequencies (i.e. greater than 20,000 Hz). Ultrasound waves have a frequency of between 1 MHz and 3 MHz and penetrate the tissue in order to perform mechanical, thermal and chemical actions, resulting in the acceleration of the metabolic processes of cells, increasing local thermal energy, stimulating circulation and neuromuscular and vascular tone.
Ultrasound therapy has different therapeutic benefits:
- It’s an analgesic
- It’s an anti-inflammatory
- It’s anti-edemic
- It’s a tension relaxer
- It’s fibrinolytic
Means of Application
Ultrasound therapy can be administered in two different ways.
Direct contact: with a movable or fixed head. The direct contact method, which is more frequently used, consists of the application of an ultrasound head in direct contact with the skin, using a substance to aid the process (usually a special conductive gel) to promote transmission between the ultrasound head and skin, as well as the adherence, sliding and elimination of possible air trapped between the skin and the ultrasound head, which can limit the transmission of ultrasonic waves due to its reflective capacity.
By immersion: this is useful when the surfaces to be treated are too small or irregular, or when the area is too painful for direct contact. The area to be treated is immersed in a container of water together with the ultrasound head, placed at a maximum distance of 2-3cm from the surface of the body in order to avoid excessive dispersion of the ultrasonic beam and thus decrease therapeutic efficacy.
Ultrasound therapy is recommended for periosteal, tendon and capsular ailments. Some of the main recommendations for ultrasound therapy include:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Muscle injuries
- Muscle contractures
- Dupuytren’s contracture.
- Cellulite treatment.
This treatment is not recommended for
Ultrasound therapy is strongly discouraged for the following ailments:
- Thrombophlebitis – ultrasound can cause blood clots to rupture
- Acute sepsis of the treatment area – due to a danger of spreading the infection
- Pregnancy – due to the danger of causing damage to the foetus in the lumbar area
- Cancer – to avoid stimulating the growth of metastases