Ultrasound is a high-frequency modality that uses sound converted to heat to treat conditions such as arthritis, adhesions and other restrictive tissues, muscle injuries, and other soft tissue problems. A doctor prescribes the treatment and the physical therapist performs it on the patient.
The ultrasound machine transmits deep heat and operates at the soft tissue level, which is why the heat is not felt on the skin. It aims to assist the body with its natural healing processes and can help to minimize pain on the dysfunctional area. It is used at certain frequencies and intensities, both of which are manipulated depending on the deepness of the soft tissues affected as well as the type of tissue that has a problem. Improvement of circulation on the treated area, diminished swelling, better metabolism, decreased nerve symptoms, and increased movement are some of the additional results expected after ultrasound therapy.
The application of the modality involves an ultrasound machine with a sound head that is placed and moved continuously over the affected tissue, and conducting gel that is placed between the skin and the sound head that transmits the energy from the machine and the soft tissues. At times, medications that are prescribed by a doctor are applied through ultrasound, and are mixed with the gel for faster transmission of the medicine through the skin and into the affected tissue. The dosage of the treatment is measured through the intensity and frequency of the ultrasound.