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What does Ultrasound Therapy do?

05 Apr

The ultrasound you get in the chiropractor’s office or at your physical therapist are not quite the same ultrasounds used when a mother wants to see the fetus. The both work on the same technical principles: AC/DC power is translated into sound waves via a crystal which vibrates with sound energy that is not in human’s auditory range. This audio vibration, which is a frequency which can be changed usually 1-3 Mhz, is directed by the ultrasound head (which looks like the top part of a phone) to the affected tissue where it starts mechanically vibrating. Cells that are not bone, ie skin, muscles, and ligaments, will be more susceptible to this vibrational energy shaking the loose calcium that collects in these cells after an injury. This is what is called therapeutic ultrasound. A diagnostic ultrasound is what is used to view the fetus and involves the echoes of the sound waves to form sort of a crude live black and white video.

Ultrasound is especially good for ligaments, large muscle groups like the hamstrings, and chronic conditions like backpain and arthritis. The therapy can be done with your chiropractor or physical therapist and usually take 10-15 minutes and is good for high performance athletes and the elderly alike. Do not use on a pregnant woman’s abdomen as the ultrasound is directed to a focal point and can damage cells if focused on one area too long and cannot be used on a body part with metallic inserts like pins. The ultrasound head must keep moving or the sound waves can “burn” the patients bone, which will feel like a deep bone bruise. Though not life threatening, the patient won’t be a happy camper.

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