When you hear the term "ultrasound" you probably think of diagnostic ultrasound imaging used during pregnancy. Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound waves as a massaging effect to soft tissue in order to reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness.
Thermal ultrasound delivers continuous sound waves to decrease pain from chronic conditions.
Mechanical ultrasound delivers pulses of sound waves to provide pain relief after an injury.
The trademark of chiropractic care is spinal manipulation, but many doctors of chiropractic utilize other drug-free treatments to enhance healing and pain relief. Each method of treatment is determined specifically for the needs of the individual patient.
How does ultrasound therapy work?
Ultrasound has been used therapeutically since the 1950s to generate vibrations in deep tissues (Source). Your chiropractor will continually move the device in small circles over and around the problem area for five to ten minutes. During this time, sound waves will vibrate.
You might feel a tingling sensation or slight warmth during the process. Many patients feel nothing at all. If the painful area is especially sensitive, you may experience slight discomfort. The treatment should not be painful.
A chiropractor may use ultrasound therapy in one of two ways:
Deep heating: thermal ultrasound heats soft tissue to increase blood circulation, promote healing, restore range of motion, and decrease pain
Cavitation: mechanical ultrasound energy causes rapid contraction and expansion of microscopic gas bubbles (cavitation) around the injured tissue
Your chiropractor will first complete a physical exam and medical history. If needed, you will receive a joint or spinal manipulation and then other complementary treatments. The type of ultrasound treatment you receive will depend on your injury or health condition.
Benefits of ultrasound therapy
Ultrasound basically micro-massages the soft tissues and joints to reduce pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms. It is used by chiropractors, occupational therapists, medical doctors, and more.
Some benefits of ultrasound therapy include:
Increased tissue relaxation
Increased blood circulation
Improved scar tissue breakdown
Reduced swelling and inflammation
Speeding the healing process
Most professionals use this therapy as a part of an overall treatment plan or physical therapy.
Is it safe?
The FDA approves the use of ultrasound therapy by licensed professionals. Treatment can produce harm by burning tissues if the heat is left in the same place for too long. That side effect is something you may or may not actually feel when it happens. This is why it is essential to choose a professional.
Ultrasound therapy should not be used on pregnant women or patients with pacemakers. Your chiropractor will select other treatment options for pain relief if your health does not permit ultrasound treatment.
Conditions that benefit from ultrasound treatment
The effectiveness of therapeutic ultrasound has led to it being used by chiropractors, physical therapists, and even personal trainers. Our office combines ultrasound treatment with other chiropractic techniques to treat conditions like:
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Arthritis and bursitis
Sprains and strains
Schedule an adjustment
If you are looking for pain relief and improved wellness, we are ready to see you for a chiropractic adjustment. A doctor of chiropractic will conduct a physical exam and medical history before determining the chiropractic treatment that is right for you.
Many insurances offer coverage for chiropractic care, and we are happy to review your benefits with you. Schedule your consultation today and discover why so many people trust a chiropractor with their body.