Once medications are added to ultrasound gel, an ultrasound treatment becomes phonophoresis.
Medications commonly used in phonophoresis include hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, and lidocaine.
The addition of prescribed medication gives physical therapists one more tool to help patients manage pain, and improve mobility.
Benefits of Ultrasound Therapy
Increase Blood Flow
Just as cold decreases blood flow, heat will increase it. Ultrasound therapy will cause your blood vessels to increase in size and therefore increase the blood flow. Increased blood flow means more nutrients will be delivered to the area of your injury while waste is carried away. This ultimately enhances the healing process.
Reduce Swelling and Inflammation
Ultrasound therapy has been shown to reduce stiffness in muscles and joints while increasing range of motion. Once blood flow is increased and swelling and inflammation is reduced, this will allow your muscles and joints to respond more favorably to manual stretching exercises and different types of massage.
Promote Tissue Healing
Ultrasound not only improves your muscles and joint range of motion, but can aid in the healing of wounded tissues. The metabolism of the cells in the tissue are affected by ultrasound. The vibration produced by the ultrasound can help prevent scar tissue from forming.
CONDITIONS TREATED WITH ULTRASOUND
While increased blood flow, reduced swelling and inflammation, and tissue healing are general benefits of ultrasound, there are several specific conditions these processes can help heal. The following are a few of the physical conditions that can be treated.
Bursitis and Tendonitis
Frozen shoulder is a form of bursitis that can be effectively treated with ultrasound therapy.
Muscle Strains and Tears
The use of ultrasound therapy can reduce the amount of time sprains, strains, and tears take to heal.
Heat applied at various places on or near the site can help relax the muscles and decrease spasms.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
These are chronic conditions that respond well to the deep heat provided by ultrasound.
Healing of bone fractures can be promoted by the use of low intensity ultrasound. It has also been found to be a more cost efficient and less invasive tool for diagnosing certain types of stress fractures.