Friday, 18 August 2017

All About ... Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound can be used as a therapy as well as a diagnostic technique.   Ultrasound are sound waves with a pitch above the level of human hearing.  When used as a therapy the frequency (rate of repetition of the waves) is different to that used for diagnostic ultrasound.  As I explained in my ultrasound diagnostic blog these high frequency waves create an echo (which is what gives the picture).  

However, the ultrasonic waves also stimulate blood flow and cell activity, which aids healing.  This is because the sound waves are able to raise the temperature of deep tissues which means there is much more potential in therapy than just applying heat to the skin surface.  It will not heat the temperature of the skin surface whilst doing this!

The increased activity in the cells causes an increase in oxygen to the area which then again increases the blood flow.  Therefore, further increasing oxygen travelling to the area, and the increase in blood also brings more nutrients to the cells.  The increased cell activity also causes an increase in waste removal from the area, many of the waste products contribute to pain felt.

Ultrasound was first used in 1938 to treat sciatica.  It has now been used in hospitals for over 50 years.

Used for:
·         Improving joint mobility
·         Tendonitis or ligament damage
·         Muscle spasm
·         Bursitis
·         Scar tissue
·         Splints or other bony growths
·         Oedema
·         Pain relief in some circumstances
·         Wound healing


·         Treatment should only be given on the advice of a vet.
·         If used incorrectly ultrasound can cause damage and harm.
·         Ultrasound therapy should not be used in cases of acute sepsis because it increases the spread of infection.  It also should not be used in tumour treatment, on pregnant mares or horses with heart problems.

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Until next time!


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