Ultrasound is the most commonly utilized therapeutic modality in rehabilitation. Ultrasound is a type of sound wave that is inaudible to the human ear (frequency greater than 20,000 Hz). Therapeutic ultrasound consists of both thermal and non-thermal ultrasound and is the type of ultrasound used in physiotherapy practice. Thermal ultrasound (continuous waveform) has been widely used in the clinical setting for approximately 50 years, whereas non-thermal ultrasound (pulsed) has been used for clinical applications for approximately 20 years.

Indications for thermal and non-thermal ultrasound include:

  • Decrease pain
  • Decrease scar tissue/adhesions
  • Increase healing rate
  • Increase collagen extensibility
  • Decrease edema/swelling
  • Increase blood flow
  • Increase circulation

Common conditions effectively treated:

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis
  • Calcifications
  • Bursitis
  • Myofascial pain syndromes
  • Acute ankle sprain
  • Knee ligament and cartilage injury
  • Spinal pain - back and neck
  • Any inflammation or pain-producing condition/injury