When we think of ultrasound, we usually think of pregnant ladies having scans, but ultrasound does also have therapeutic applications. In fact, using ultrasound in sports medicine is something that has been growing in popularity over recent years.
Unlike an imaging ultrasound which is used to visualise what is going on inside the body, therapeutic ultrasound stimulates the tissue beneath the surface of the skin by using high frequency sound waves. Ultrasound has been used for everything from breaking down kidney stones to cleaning teeth, and it can have many applications when it comes to sports injuries.
Here are 3 ways ultrasound can help with your sports injury:
Improving healing rates
Any muscular injury can benefit from ultrasound therapy, which can help to increase the rate of healing. In fact, this article from 2015 talks of ultrasound helping to heal wounds up to three times faster. There has even been research into the use of ultrasound to heal broken bones. I can’t help with that, but I can help with ultrasound for sports injuries. Of course, the best treatment for most sports injuries is the age old “RICE” – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. If there’s one thing a sports person doesn’t like to do though, it’s sit about and wait patiently for an injury to heal! Ultrasound won’t suddenly have you 100% and bounding about the playing field, but it can help to lower the amount of time you spend resting your injured joint. Used as part of a comprehensive recovery plan, ultrasound can help your sports injury to heal much more quickly.
Often clients come to me with aching muscles that don’t necessarily have any damage to them. We all experience muscle tightness from time to time, and we often don’t notice the tightness building up over time – until one day we can’t walk without pain, or our shoulders are bunched up somewhere around our ears. You might think that sports massage is the only way to treat this, but ultrasound can sometimes be used to help relax muscles that are tight and sore. It does this by warming the muscles and soft tissue in the affected area, thus increasing circulation and promoting relaxation in the same way that massage does. Ultrasound essentially massages deep inside of the tissues and can be incredibly beneficial for those who suffer with tight muscles.
Scar tissue breakdown
We don’t only develop scar tissue over external wounds to the body. Any tissue that has been injured can develop scarring, and when scar tissue forms the tissue can lose its elasticity and become tough. This can happen in muscles, tendons and any other tissue within the body. Hardened scar tissue can cause problems if it forms in the wrong place, impairing range of motion and general overall function. Ultrasound can be very effective in helping to break down scar tissue so that joints are able to move more freely over time.
I have been providing therapeutic ultrasound treatment for my clients in Oxford and Salisbury for several years now and am happy to discuss how it may work for your injury.