How to Time Ultrasound Therapy Effectively

The importance of timing when using therapeutic ultrasound

Organizing therapeutic ultrasound treatment can take some careful planning in order to deal with debilitating symptoms at the same time as maximizing gains in physical therapy. Most often when people come to physical therapy they are suffering from an incapacitating issue or combination of issues such as:

  • Chronic or Acute Pain
  • Swelling and Edema
  • Reduced Range of Motion

Timing of Ultrasound Therapy Treatment During Physical Therapy

These problems, alone or in combination, are enough to cause disability and loss of freedom in daily activities. In order to address these problems effectively, physical therapists utilize rehabilitation modalities like therapeutic ultrasound devices.

The Importance of Therapeutic Ultrasound in Physical Therapy

Therapeutic ultrasound is an important modality in physical therapy because it is a non-invasive, effective tool that can reduce pain and inflammation while improving range of motion and recovery in a relatively short amount of treatment time. We’ve talked before about the importance of using therapeutic ultrasound on myriad patient issues including:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Post ACL reconstruction
  • Low Back Pain
  • Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis
  • Cervical Radiculopathy

But what sets apart ultrasound therapy from other modalities is its effectiveness when paired with other treatment modalities such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and therapeutic exercise. Complimentary pairings of rehabilitation modalities and their timing are instrumental in setting a patient up for success within a single physical therapy session and throughout the course of their treatment.

Related Article: The Rehabilitative Use of an Ultrasound Therapy Machine

The Importance of Timing When Using Therapeutic Ultrasound

Chronic and Acute Pain: When a patient is suffering from chronic pain, such as the case with Fibromyalgia, it can be problematic for them to perform necessary therapeutic exercise and stretching. Modalities like ultrasound therapy paired with electrical stimulation before movement therapy will help reduce pain in order to help the patient be able to complete treatment. Conversely, a Post ACL reconstruction patient may experience pain after the required use of a Knee Continuous Passive Motion machine. With physical therapy, practitioners don’t want to send patients home in pain from any treatments. Using therapeutic ultrasound after this treatment is an important tool to help reduce any pain experienced from the movement therapy.

Swelling and Edema: Swelling and edema can make it difficult for patients to participate in any movement related treatments, whether active or passive. In these cases, ultrasound therapy can be beneficial as a pre-treatment in order to lower swelling and edema and making participation in movement and mobilization treatments possible. However, if a patient exhibits swelling post-treatment, ultrasound therapy can be utilized with a contrasting therapy, such as cold-compression therapy, in order to reduce swelling and edema.

Reduced Range of Motion: Range of motion can be inhibited by a combination of factors: muscle spasms and tightness, pain, swelling, etc. Ultrasound therapy is a great modality to use as a non-invasive approach towards improving range of motion. Ultrasound therapy combined with paraffin therapy before splinting can help reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, ultrasound therapy can help improve the range of motion of the wrist making it possible for the practitioner to perform gentle mobilizations necessary to improving movement in the carpals.

Timing is very important in physical therapy. Ultrasound therapy is a great treatment modality for many patient problems, but careful timing of its use maximizes its therapeutic benefits.