There are several treatment modalities that may come under the umbrella of “electrotherapy”.
After assessment and discussion with you, your physiotherapist may recommend one of the following treatments, usually in a addition to a specifically targeted home exercise plan or other exercise therapy:
“Mechanical vibration at increasing frequencies is known as sound energy. The normal human sound range is from 16Hz to something approaching 15-20,000 Hz (in children and young adults). Beyond this upper limit, the mechanical vibration is known as ULTRASOUND. The frequencies used in therapy are typically between 1.0 and 3.0 MHz (1MHz = 1 million cycles per second).”
Tim Watson – electrotherapy.org
The process of healing from an injury, regardless of the tissue affected, involves a series of complicated steps within the body’s tissues. It is believed that the mechanical vibrations from the ultrasond machine can enhance the body’s ability to heal the tissues more efficiently.
The frequencies used in ultrasound are so high, that you should not feel the machine working at all. The physiotherapist will apply a cool gel to the affected area, but this gel is purely to help with transmission of the soundwaves through the surface of the skin. Basically it helps to get the treatment to the area where it is needed. If you feel discomfort at any point, please inform your physiotherapist.
Yes, it is safe when recommended following a thorough verbal and physical assessment by your therapist. There are some conditions and situations where ultrasound may not be appopriate. During assessment your therapist is ensuring that any treatment offered is safe for your condition, taking into consideration all other aspects of your general health.
This very much depends on your condition and individual needs. This will be discussed with you at your consultation.