Ultrasound treatment uses energy from high-frequency sound waves to treat some conditions, such as muscle and joint pain and injuries. It is used on soft tissue, muscle bruises, and scar tissue, but not on bone fractures.
When is it used?
Ultrasound treatment may be used to:
Decrease joint and muscle pain
Increase blood flow to injured tissue to help injuries heal
Help you have less scar tissue
Often ultrasound is used along with a physical therapy program of exercises and hands-on therapy.
Pregnant women should not have this kind of ultrasound treatment. Also, there are some parts of the body on which ultrasound should not be used, such as:
Bone growth plates
Body parts with metal implants
Areas with a lot of fluid, such as the ears, eyes, brain, and spinal cord
The area near your reproductive organs
How do I prepare for this treatment?
No special preparation is necessary. However, your provider may recommend doing a warm-up exercise before your treatment. It’s also good to stretch the muscles and soft tissues in the area that will be treated.
What happens during the treatment?
The treatment is usually given by a certified trainer or physical therapist in a training room or clinic.
A small device called a transducer is placed on your body. A gel is put on your skin to improve the contact between your body and the transducer. The therapist moves the transducer in slow, even movements. The treatment normally lasts up to 10 minutes.
What happens after the treatment?
After the ultrasound treatment, the gel is wiped off your skin. Your therapist or trainer will give you instructions for stretching or exercising the muscle and soft tissue of the treated area.
What are the risks of this treatment?
Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this treatment include:
Soft tissue burns
Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2014-10-27 Last reviewed: 2014-10-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Ultrasound Treatment for Muscle and Joint Pain: References
Cameron MH. Physical Agents in Rehabilitation: From Research to Practice, 4th ed. St. Louis, MO; Elsevier Saunders. 2012.
DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, 3rd Edition. Jesse C. DeLee, MD, David Drez, Jr., MD and Mark D. Miller, MD. Elsevier. 2009