History and Uses of Ultrasound
When most people think about ultrasound, they think of its use during various stages of pregnancy. However, ultrasound technology has also been used for therapeutic treatment for the past 80 plus years for a variety of different conditions and ailments. Ultrasound was first researched and implemented during World War I as a means to detecting enemy submarines. Ultrasound was first utilized for therapeutic purposes in the 1920s and 1930s primarily for members of soccer teams in Europe. The 1970s and 80s were seen as boomtime for ultrasound and began to see widespread adoption for a number of purposes including therapy, viewing unborn babies during pregnancy, and medical diagnostics including identifying a variety of conditions affecting organs and soft tissues of the body. The technology continues to be widely used today for a wide variety of treatments and diagnoses.
The ultrasound is applied using an applicator that is put in direct contact with a person’s skin. Transmission gel is placed on the surface of the wand or probe in order to reduce friction against the skin and as well as help transmit the ultrasonic waves. The waves are very high frequency sound waves (between 800,000 Hz and 2,000,000 Hz) that cannot be heard by humans. The applicator is moved over the surface of the skin in the region of the injury transmitting the sound waves into the tissue. These waves cause vibrations and stimulate the tissue beneath the skin’s surface and leads to the production of heat within the tissue. The heat generally cannot be felt by the person. The vibration and heat produced in the tissue provides the therapeutic benefit to the affected area.
Examples of conditions that can be treated with ultrasound therapy include:
- Sprains and strains
- Pain caused by scar tissue
- Joint inflammation
- Plantar fasciitis
- Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- Carpal Tunnel syndrome
The benefits are generally attributed to either thermal or non-thermal effects. Ultrasound is often used to provide deep heating to soft tissue structures in the body. Deep heating tendons, muscles or ligaments increases circulation to those tissues, which may assist in the healing process. Increasing tissue temperature with ultrasound is also used to help decrease pain.
Deep heating can be used to increase the "stretchiness" of muscles and tendons that may be tight. For example, if you have shoulder pain, your physical therapist may use ultrasound to help improve the extensibility of the tissues around your shoulder prior to performing range of motion exercises. This may help improve the ability of your shoulder to stretch.
There are 3 common portable ultrasound frequencies that include 1, 3 & 5 MHz
The 1MHz Premium Portable Ultrasound has the deepest penetration for healing deep muscle tissues generally located in the back or thigh; 3 MHz - mid-depth like joints, arms, shoulder; 5 MHz - shallow-surface, skin and soft tissue below including facial.
The non-thermal effects involve the ultrasound introducing energy into the body. This energy causes microscopic gas bubbles around your tissues to expand and contract rapidly, a process called cavitation. It is theorized that the expansion and contraction of these bubbles help speed cellular processes and improves healing of injured tissue.
Because of these benefits, ultrasound is widely used by medical community for therapeutic purposes. To meet the growing demand for this technology, Brace-Mart.Com stocks several premium brands of portable ultrasound machines and gels including: BraceMart, Roscoe Medical , and Parker Labs . Machines can range from higher end models equipped with touch screens that can offer multiple, sophisticated treatment options all the way to portable ultrasound machines with simple treatment options. Gels may be included with the machines and may also be sold separately .
In addition, you may also consider using a small amount of your favorite topical analgesic such as Sub Zero to help sooth and reduce pain during an ultrasound treatment. Analgesics can effectively help relieve pain from: Sore Muscles & Muscle Sprains Back, Shoulder, Neck Pain Arthritis Painful Ankle, Knee, Hip & Elbow Joints.