Doctor, health, health care, Physiotherapy

No more Groans and Moans: Ultrasound Therapy

Ultrasound has always been a part of diagnostic procedures until recently it has been reintroduced in therapeutic form as:

  • Ultrasound Therapy
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy

Ultrasound is a form of mechanical energy. The mechanical vibration above the upper limit of hearing of humans falls is ultrasound.

Frequency for Therapy= 1.0 – 3.0 MHz.


  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Runner’s knee
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tendonitis
  • Fasciitis
  • Chronic Back Pains
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Sprains/ muscle strains/ injuries

What is Ultrasound Therapy?

It causes the generation of thermal and non-thermal which aids in healing. It penetrates tissues to a different depth. The ease of passage is known as Impedance. The impedance is enhanced with the use of Coupling media i.e. Oils/ Creams/ Gels. Most commonly used medium is anti-inflammatory gel.

Absorption of ultrasound in tissues is directly proportional to protein content.

Blood< Fat< Nerve< Muscle< Skin< Tendon< Cartilage< Bone. 1,2,3

Best absorption is seen in:

  • Tendon
  • Ligament
  • Fascia
  • Joint capsule
  • Scar tissue

How does Ultrasound Heal?


It provides direct thermal energy to collagenous tissue generated with the vibration of ultrasound. It helps in tissue healing. 4,5


  • Micro-massages
  • Cavitation & Acoustic streaming- together they up-regulate the cell membrane. It increases the cellular activity & It helps in healing.

What does it treat?

  • Inflamed tissue e.g. Dense Collagen Tissues.3,2
  • Proliferative phase: it acts on the proliferative phase of healing and reduces the scar tissue. 6,7,8,9
  • Remodeling & Repair: it enhances the functional capacity of healed scar tissue.4,9,10,11

Many other unexplored uses are still under trial and soon it’ll emerge in bone healing etc. The Ultrasound Therapy has mixed reviews since few of the studies prove it to be having a placebo effect while others recommend it.

I hope my article is of some benefit to all.

Happy Healing to everyone.

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  1. Watson T. The role of electrotherapy in contemporary physiotherapy practice. Manual Therapy. 2000 Aug;5(3):132–41.
  2. Watson T. Ultrasound in contemporary physiotherapy practice. Ultrasonics. 2008 Aug;48(4):321–9.
  3.  Watson T, Young S. Therapeutic Ultrasound. Electrotherapy: evidence-based practice. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2008. 414 p.
  4. Nussbaum E. The influence of ultrasound on healing tissues. J Hand Ther. 1998 Jun;11(2):140–7.
  5. Haar G. Therapeutic ultrasound. European Journal of Ultrasound. 1999 Mar;9(1):3–9.
  6. Reher P, Doan N, Bradnock B, Meghji S, Harris M. Effect of ultrasound on the production of IL-8, basic FGF and VEGF. Cytokine. 1999 Jun;11(6):416–23.
  7. Leung MCP, Ng GYF, Yip KK. Therapeutic ultrasound enhances medial collateral ligament repair in rats. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2006 Mar;32(3):449–52.
  8. McBrier NM, Lekan JM, Druhan LJ, Devor ST, Merrick MA. Therapeutic ultrasound decreases mechano-growth factor messenger ribonucleic acid expression after muscle contusion injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Jul;88(7):936–40.
  9. Tsai W-C, Pang J-HS, Hsu C-C, Chu N-K, Lin M-S, Hu C-F. Ultrasound stimulation of types I and III collagen expression of tendon cell and upregulation of transforming growth factor beta. J Orthop Res. 2006 Jun;24(6):1310–6.
  10. Gan BS, Huys S, Sherebrin MH, Scilley CG. The effects of ultrasound treatment on flexor tendon healing in the chicken limb. J Hand Surg Br. 1995 Dec;20(6):809–14.
  11. Yeung CK, Guo X, Ng YF. Pulsed ultrasound treatment accelerates the repair of Achilles tendon rupture in rats. J Orthop Res. 2006 Feb;24(2):193–201.

Disclaimer: This article is for reference purpose only, under no circumstances it should be used as a replacement of medical opinion by Professionals. Any decision regarding health and health care should be taken after professional advice only. Health care advice and information shared by the author is best to her knowledge. We disclaim all responsibilities for any inadvertent omission/ commission by the author or the website.

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