Therapeutic Ultrasound

Therapeutic Ultrasound

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller


What is Therapeutic Ultrasound?

Therapeutic ultrasound, has been used in physiotherapy since the 1940s, enhances tissue healing, relaxation, and blood circulation. This method provides a range of treatments, including treatment for mastitis and blocked mammary ducts, muscle relaxation and phonophoresis, which we will examine.

Enhancing Healing with Therapeutic Ultrasound

Celebrated for its capacity to boost blood circulation, reduce swelling, and aid bone fracture recovery, therapeutic ultrasound is a tool physiotherapists finely tune to elicit specific healing responses, particularly effective in scar tissue management.

Phonophoresis: Advancing Medication Delivery

A notable application of therapeutic ultrasound is in phonophoresis, which offers a non-invasive pathway for drug delivery, bypassing the need for injections. Medications like cortisone are commonly administered in this manner, offering treatment through the skin.

A Versatile Remedy for Various Conditions

Physiotherapist in navy polo performing therapeutic ultrasound on patient's joint
Experienced Physiotherapist Using Therapeutic Ultrasound For Muscle And Joint Treatment.

Therapeutic ultrasound’s range includes the treatment of diverse conditions, from muscle strains and joint inflammation to mastitis. The treatment process is generally quick and painless, with extended sessions for more in-depth treatments, such as scar tissue breakdown.

The Working Principle of Therapeutic Ultrasound

The apparatus operates by generating sound waves that create vibrations in soft tissues, producing a therapeutic heat. This process does not induce a sensation of heat for the patient unless a specific thermal setting is applied.

When to Exercise Caution with Ultrasound

Therapeutic ultrasound is not without its contraindications. It’s not suitable for cases with malignancy, over areas with metal implants, infections, or during certain stages of pregnancy. It’s also advised against on sensitive body areas, such as the eyes or post-laminectomy.

Ensuring Safe Use of Ultrasound Therapy

When applied by a certified physiotherapist, ultrasound is both safe and beneficial. However, consulting a healthcare professional to verify its appropriateness for your health requirements is imperative.

Distinguishing Diagnostic and Therapeutic Ultrasound

Diagnostic real-time ultrasound provides essential imaging, whereas therapeutic ultrasound is an active treatment modality. Their differences lie in purpose, frequency, and outcomes, yet both are crucial to modern medical care.


In essence, therapeutic ultrasound remains an invaluable asset in physiotherapy, offering customised treatment options for a broad spectrum of health issues. Professional advice is essential to ensure its safety and effectiveness, but its sustained use in therapy is a testament to its potential to enhance patient outcomes and hasten the path to recovery.

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