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Most patients are familiar with diagnostic ultrasonography or "ultrasound" which is used to discern problems deep in the body without breaking the surface of the skin, by bouncing and measuring high frequency sound waves to create audio "images". Less common is the awareness of this remarkable technology as a therapeutic tool.
"Therapeutic Ultrasound" is one of the most common electrophysical modalities used by physicians in today's technologically advanced nations, and has been for several decades. Its effectiveness has been enhanced over the years by studies which helped determine optimum techniques and patterns of application, and a wide range of injuries have shown to be responsive to this popular, non-invasive therapy.
A deep tissue heating modality reaching underlying tissues as deep as 1 to 5 centimeters, it is used to treat musculo-skeletal injuries, back and joint conditions, limited range of motion, soft tissue injuries, and chronic conditions.
Treatment is administered directly which penetrates the tissues, increases blood flow, relaxes muscle spasms, repairs damaged tissue, and dramatically speeds the healing process. It creates permanent, physical changes and repairs both hard and soft tissues problems.
One of the major advantages of ultrasound is that it is nontoxic and nondestructive. The healing response is directly proportional to the input of ultrasonic energy and is somewhat dependent on ultrasonic frequency, which are highly variable and, although proven to be effective in many case studies, is being continually refined through newer studies designed to measure the effects of time, frequency and intensity of applications on various body structures and conditions affecting them.
For soft tissue healing, ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves, well beyond the range of human hearing, which cause molecules in the tissues to vibrate, producing heat and mechanical energy.
The main piece of equipment is a high-frequency generator, which provides an electrical current through a coaxial cable to a transducer contained within an applicator. The crystal in the ultrasound head expands and contracts which produces the necessary sound wave. By adjusting the frequency of the waves, the therapist can target tissues for either healing or destruction, or simply use the device to reduce pain.
Ultrasound therapy can be applied directly to the skin or through a water medium. When applied directly, it must be performed using a coupling gel. Ultrasound can also be done in a tub of water or through gel packs.
Ultrasound is commonly used by athletic trainers. In fact, ultrasound therapy has become the most commonly used deep therapeutic heat modality in sports medicine, valuable for the rehabilitation of many different injuries because it stimulates the repair of soft tissue injuries and also relieves pain.
Although simple in principle, the use of ultrasound as a therapeutic modality requires a comprehensive understanding of its effects on the body tissues and of the physical mechanisms by which its effects are produced. The lower the frequency used, the deeper is the penetration of the waves into the body. And by varying the frequency from continuous to intermittent, the amount of heat applied can likewise be controlled by the practitioner.
Early practitioners used continuous or "thermal mode" ultrasound to treat contusions and muscle injuries, but it was quickly determined that pulsed or intermittent waves were more practical for most therapeutic applications. While providing highly effective "micromassage" which is thought to assist in the reduction of swelling and edema, pulsed ultrasound is free of the intense, possibly tissue-damaging "heating effect" on tissues when using the non-pulsing thermal mode. The thermal mode is used primarily where heat is an essential element of the treatment.
Medical studies have shown therapeutic ultrasound to be a versatile tool with a wide range of uses.
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I have been receiving treatment from Dr. Stern and his team for over three years due to traumatic injuries I suffered from a car ejection. I lived with debilitating chronic pain for years with little to no relief until I began a treatment plan with Dr. Stern in 2012. I have seen multiple chiropractors (in three different states) and I have yet to find any that compare to Moulds and Stern! I now reside in California and continue to make frequent trips to Florida for chiropractic care. They have played a massive part in my healing and recovery process and I am forever grateful! If you're looking for a knowledgeable team of Doctors and therapists, you will find them at Moulds and Stern!!