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What is Ultrasound Therapy?

Ultrasound therapy uses high-frequency sound waves to reduce back pain. It involves beaming the sound waves directly into muscles, tissues and bones to stimulate blood vessels and improving circulation. Ultrasound therapy is often combined with ice and heat therapy as an alternative to surgery.

Ultrasound therapy is more effective than pain medication or massage because it directly treats inflamed tissue. However, it is less invasive than surgery and may be used to treat back pain if surgical procedures are deemed inappropriate.

For instance, if there is no direct pressure on the spinal nerve but muscles are still inflamed, surgery may not be advised. Instead, ultrasound therapy would provide a better alternative.

Ultrasound therapy can also be used in conjunction with physical therapy or chiropractic to reduce pain while treating its underlying cause.

Conditions Treated by Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound therapy can treat a wide variety of symptoms and conditions, including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Reduced flexibility

It should be noted that ultrasound therapy can only treat the symptoms, not underlying causes or conditions. If your back pain is caused by a sprain or overwork, ultrasound therapy may be able to treat it. Consult with your doctor to develop a treatment plan before having this procedure administered.

How It Works

Generally speaking, you will need to have ultrasound therapy performed in a hospital or clinic setting.

An ultrasound procedure proceeds as follows:

  1. The doctor or therapist treats the painful area with anti-inflammatory gel.
  2. The doctor massages the area with the ultrasound applicator for a few minutes, sending high-pitched sound waves into the muscle and bone tissue.
  3. The high-pitched sound waves reach the body tissue and create heat, stimulating blood flow and relaxing the muscles.

Within a few minutes, the pain should dissipate unless there are other, more serious problems. The pain relief will last for at least several hours. After multiple ultrasound procedures, the pain can be permanently healed if it was only caused by a sprain or muscle stress. However, if there is an underlying cause for your chronic back pain, ultrasound therapy may only be a temporary relief measure.

When Not to Have Ultrasound Therapy

While ultrasound therapy is generally safer than surgery, it is not without its own risks. These are some instances in which ultrasound therapy should be avoided:

  • Immediately after an injury, as it can increase blood flow
  • While infected with a blood-borne disease
  • If you have cancer
  • If you have a bone fracture

Additionally, ultrasound therapy should not be used near the sex organs or near the eyes. It should not be used on children, as it may affect their growth.

Contact your physician if you believe ultrasound therapy can reduce your back pain. A doctor will be able to include ultrasound therapy in a comprehensive back pain treatment plan.