Intro to Therapeutic Ultrasound Therapeutic ultrasound is primarily indicated in the treatment of chronic scar tissue and indolent decubital ulcers (bed sores). It may also be effective for temporary relief of muscle spasms and for enhanced tendon healing.


Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound waves to deliver energy to tissues with two types of effects:
  1. Heat energy delivered to tissues
    • Increases blood flow
    • Increases flexibility and extensibility of connective tissue
    • Provides pain relief
    • Muscle relaxation

  2. Rapid Vibration of tissues
    • Accelerates inflammatory phase of healing
    • Increases in local circulation
    • Decrease in swelling
    • Release of neurotransmitter chemicals:
      • Endorphin –natural pain and stress fighters
      • Encephalin -mood, behavior, pain perception control
      • Serotonin release -mood and social behavior

In the Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) patient, therapeutic ultrasound can be used when there is spasm of muscles or contracture of tissues secondary to loss of nerve control. It should not be used on tissues that have no deep pain perception because excessive heating may occur. After IVDD surgery some patients have scoliosis from contracture of the spinal muscles. Ultrasound can be used to relax these muscles and straighten the spine.