Ultrasound therapy is the use of sound waves to treat musculoskeletal problems, especially in inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis and bursitis. It is most widely employed by Osteopaths and Physiotherapists, and has been an extremely popular therapy since the 1950s.

There are many treatment applications of therapeutic ultrasound, using different intensities and frequencies of sound, but all share the basic principle of stimulating the healing processes within tissues using sound waves.

How does ultrasound work?

Ultrasonic waves or sound waves of a high frequency that is not audible to the human ear are produced by means of mechanical vibration in the metal treatment head of the ultrasound machine. The treatment head is moved over the surface of the skin in the region of the injury transmitting the energy into the tissues.

The high-frequency sound waves travel deep within the body tissues and generate heat to treat selected medical conditions such as pain, muscle spasms and joint contractures and inflammation.

Effects of therapeutic ultrasound

Thermal effect:

As the ultrasound waves pass from the treatment head into the skin they cause the vibration of the surrounding tissues, particularly those that contain collagen. This increased vibration leads to the production of heat within the tissue. In most cases this cannot be felt by the patient themselves. The increase in temperature promotes the healing process within structures such as ligaments, tendons, scar tissue and fibrous joint capsules. In addition, the heat also helps to reduce pain and muscle spasms.

As there is an increase in blood flow which is beneficial in the sub-acute phase of tissue injury, it is not advised to use ultrasound immediately after injury.

Effects on the inflammatory and repair processes:

Whenever a muscle, tendon or ligament is damaged, the body naturally responds by producing an inflammation to protect and heal the injured tissue. Ultrasound is thought to accelerate the normal resolution time of the inflammatory process by attracting more mast cells to the site of injury and therefore reduce the healing time of certain soft tissue injuries.

Ultrasound stimulates the production of more collagen, which is the main protein component in soft tissue such as tendons and ligaments. Ultrasound can accelerate the proliferative phase of tissue healing. It is thought to improve the extensibility of mature collagen and so can have a positive effect to on fibrous scar tissue which may form after an injury.

What to expect?

At Oakland’s Osteopathy we use Ultrasound in combination with an osteopathic treatment so a full case history and osteopathic examination will precede the treatment.
Ultrasound is normally applied by use of a small metal treatment head which emits the ultrasonic beam. This is moved continuously over the skin for approximately 3-5 minutes.

Ultrasound dosage can be varied either in intensity or frequency of the ultrasound beam according to the type and location of injury.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss whether ultrasound therapy would be a suitable treatment option for yourself.


Contact Us

Tel: 01920 424944
Email: info@oaklandsosteopathy.co.uk

Watton-at-Stone Clinic
Hertfordshire SG14 3SN



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