Ultrasound Machine Therapy
Ultrasound therapy is a treatment modality that is used by our physical therapists to utilize high or low-frequency sound waves. These sound waves are transmitted to the surrounding tissue and blood vessels. After penetrating the muscles, they cause deep-tissue and muscle warming. This promotes tissue relaxation, making it a useful treatment for muscle tightness and spasms.
The warming effect of the sound waves also causes the blood vessels to dilate and increase circulation to the area that assists in healing. The waves' frequency can be adjusted to use waves that will decrease inflammation.
Electrical Muscle Stimulation
Often abbreviated as e-stim, electrical muscle stimulation is done by using an electrical current to cause a single muscle (or a group of muscles) to contract. By placing electrodes on the skin in various locations, we can recruit the appropriate muscle fibers. Contracting the muscle via electrical stimulation helps strengthen the affected muscle.
The e-stim's setting can be changed to allow for a forceful or gentle muscle contraction. Along with increasing muscle strength, the contraction of the muscle also promotes blood supply to the area, which will assist in its healing.
This medical treatment is used to deliver medication across the skin to deeper tissues by the use of electrical polarity. The medicine is mixed with an ionized (electrically charged) carrier and pushed into the skin when repelled by an electrode of the same charge on the surface of the skin. Our physical therapists occasionally use this mechanism to deliver steroid medication to sites of inflammation or swelling. It is often referred to as a "needle-less injection."
TENS Unit Instruction
A TENS unit stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is a small, battery-operated machine that uses electrical transmission to decrease pain. Electrodes are applied to the affected area. The machine is then turned on, and an electrical current is sent through the electrodes.
A tingling sensation is felt in the underlying skin and muscle. This signal disrupts the pain signal that is being sent from the affected area to the surrounding nerves. By breaking this signal, the patient experiences less pain.