Thursday, April 28, 2011

Therapeutic Ultrasound And Pain Management

In recent years, a new form of pain relief management and treatment has emerged called "therapeutic ultrasound" or at times "ultrasound therapy." Although first tried in the 1940's, only in the past decade or so has it grown in popularity as a form of pain management.

One of the most common ways ultrasound therapy is used today is to manage lower back pain. There are two primary ways to acquire this treatment: either by seeing a physiotherapists who specializes in this treatment at a clinic, or by using a portable home device developed for this treatment.

There are two main types of ultrasound therapy: thermal and mechanical. Thermal relies on providing a continual stream of sound waves, while mechanical relies on sound pulses.

Most therapeutic ultrasound treatments only last between five to ten minutes in length, and completely painless. The therapy relies on the use of sound waves and is really a form of deep tissue therapy. Not only can it be used to treat chronic pain conditions such as lower back pain, but many sufferers of conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia and found the treatment to be of use as well.

Therapeutic ultrasound is generally much preferred to surgical options for pain management. Given the advent of home ultrasound machines, it is also quite convenient for many to use as well. Home machines usually consist of a hand held "transducer" that in conjunction with a gel will allow an individual to treat many different body pains easily at home. Many of these devices cost under $200, although you should shop carefully and make sure the model you select has good customer reviews and is FDA approved.

If you prefer to see a physiotherapists for the procedure, you may want to ask your regular physician for a recommendation and for his or her opinion on the treatment. A physiotherapist may be able to more accurately treat your pain condition. They should be able to tell whether your specific condition is more appropriately treated via thermal or mechanical ultrasound therapy, and make sure that it is administered effectively.

There have been several scientific studies that have supported the use of ultrasound therapy, but others have not, so at best the scientific community is mixed on the benefits of this treatment. Still, given that there is little chance of harm using this method to treat pain compared to surgical options, it may be worth at least trying out for many.

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