Worldwide there are one and a half billion people suffering from chronic pain. One of the biggest reasons people suffer from chronic pain is because of nerve injury or damage, as well as damage to soft tissue. They are more nerve cells in our brains than there are stars in our galaxy. Our bodies have 43 pairs of nerves, all of which connect our central nervous system the rest of our body. Of these 43 pairs of nerves, 12 of them connect to the brain. The rest attach to the spinal cord.
The truth is, our brains and our nervous system are such an intricate machine that it is fairly common for something to go wrong. Ultrasound therapy for pain is a new and exciting possibility for treatment of pain without drugs. Ultrasound therapy has been used for decades since it was first introduced in the 1940s. If you are seeking relief from pain, read on to learn more about ultrasound therapy for pain and how it works.
What is Ultrasound?
The term “ultrasound” refers to sound waves outside the range of human hearing. Most humans can hear, at the most, sounds that fall between 16 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Therapeutic ultrasound waves are at a frequency of between 0.8 and 3.0 megahertz. The application of these sound waves to the painful areas of the body shows promise in providing pain relief.
What Types of Ultrasound Therapy Are There?
There are two types. Thermal ultrasound therapy uses a continuous transmission, and the sound waves cause small vibrations in the molecules of deep tissue. This increases heat and friction, and the warming effect stimulates healing in the tissue. Mechanical ultrasound therapy uses pulses. This has a warming effect, but it also causes tiny gas bubbles in the soft tissue to expand and contract. This helps to decrease inflammation and reduce swelling.
How Is it Done?
Ultrasound therapy for pain begins when a therapist selects a small area of the body to work on. A gel is applied to the transducer head or to your skin, and this gel enables the transducer to move more smoothly and eliminates the possibility of any air gap between the ultrasound transducer and your skin. The transducer broadcasts the ultrasound waves. A treatment session takes between five and 10 minutes for each area.
What Conditions Can Ultrasound Therapy For Pain Help With?
Ultrasound therapy for pain has shown the most promise in helping with sprains and strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis pain, myofascial pain, bursitis, and the pain caused by scar tissues or phantom limbs. For nerve pain, thermal ultrasound therapy is usually the best choice. Mechanical ultrasound therapy is more commonly used when there is tissue damage or significant swelling, such as with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Is Ultrasound Therapy Safe?
With any medical treatment, the safety of the treatment is always of utmost concern to both therapists and patients. The FDA has deemed ultrasound therapy to be safe when performed by a licensed therapist, and so long as the therapist keeps the transducer head moving at all times. There are a few places where ultrasound therapy for pain should not be used. This includes over any broken skin or bones, around the eyes or genitals, around the womb of menstruating or pregnant women, over plastic implants, or over any malignant tumors. Ultrasound therapy is also not appropriate for people who have a pacemaker.
What Does it Feel LIke?
Different people give various reports about what they feel during ultrasound therapy. Many people feel nothing, while some people report a mild pulsing feeling, and others a slight warmth. If you have damaged tissue, such as after a sprain, you may feel a bit of discomfort as the transducer head pushes on the tissue. For the most part, however, ultrasound therapy is not and should not be painful.
Ultrasound therapy for pain provides a possible way of getting relief without the use of powerful pain-relieving drugs. If you are suffering from chronic pain, consider looking into ultrasound therapy and ask a therapist whether it might be the right fit for you.