Therapeutic ultrasound is the use of sound waves to produce a positive result. There are two categories of therapeutic ultrasound. The first uses continuous sound waves to warm tissues, stimulating healing and flexibility. The second category uses intermittent sound waves to decrease swelling and inflammation by “pushing” the fluid out of an injured area.
Therapeutic ultrasound has been used in the human physical therapy world for decades to treat everything from sprained ankles and back pain to conditions such as “frozen shoulder.”
Therapeutic ultrasound in veterinary medicine was first used on performance horses and has since gained widespread use in the canine and feline world.
Recent injuries are treated using the pulsed wave technique to get the swelling out of the affected area. In more chronic injuries, such as biceps tendon issues or chronic joint disease, continuous wave therapy is the standard use.
A medicated gel with the ultrasound allows us to get medication into painful areas (phonophoresis). This is used where sedation for joint injections may be risky or in areas where needle placement might cause more harm than good.