What is Ultrasound?
Ultrasound is another modality that physical therapists can use to help a patient with their pain. Ultrasound is essentially a machine that uses sound waves to generate heat within a body part. What we do with the patient is use a sound head, similar in a doctor's office where they do sonograms on pregnant women, and put a little gel on the sound head and your body part. In a circular motion, we just rub the sound head on the area to be treated (for example the wrist for chronic carpal tunnel) to generate heat in the joint, increasing overall blood flow circulation. Ultrasound also helps loosen up tissues to allow them to respond better to stretch or any other manual techniques that we use such as to loosen up tight joints or tight muscles. It also helps prepare the body part for just general activity before an exercise program. Ultrasound can also be helpful in acute injuries for non-thermal effects, meaning no heat is generated, but it can help increase blood flow, thereby reducing inflammation or swelling.