Ultrasound Therapy For Sports Injuries: Your Questions Answered
There are more nerve cells in the human brain than there are stars in the entire Milky Way galaxy. These nerve cells allow us to, among other things, feel physical sensations and stimuli. These can be pleasurable or painful, depending on the circumstances. When you’ve been injured as a result of sports and other sorts of physical activity, you might wish there weren’t quite so many nerve cells able to feel so deeply. Fortunately, there are various ways to heal these wounds — and one of them is ultrasound therapy.
For the last half-century, this therapeutic method has been used to repair tissue damage and relieve pain in countless athletes. But although it’s certainly a popular option, there’s still quite a bit that remains a mystery about ultrasound therapy. Still, those who have been helped by it (and their practitioners) continue to sing its praises. Let’s learn a bit more about this type of therapy and its sports injury applications.
How ultrasound therapy works
Simply put, ultrasound machines produce high-frequency sound waves (which are indiscernible to the human ear) through vibrations within the mechanical treatment head. This treatment head is applied to the skin in the areas affected by tissue damage and injury, which then transmits energy into the tissues.
We know how these waves are created and how they’re applied to a patient, but experts are a little less certain as to why this type of therapy works as well as it does. There are several theories cited, including the fact that vibrations stimulate the surrounding tissues that contain collagen and also produce heat, which can reduce pain and promote healing. Another theory is that ultrasound therapy attracts mast cells to the injury site, improving blood flow and thereby speeding up tissue damage recovery.
Using ultrasound therapy for pain related to sports injuries
This type of therapy has been used in countless sport injury applications, including:
- promotion of bone and tendon healing following ACL surgery in soccer players
- treatment of chronic tennis elbow
- reducing lower back pain associated with football
- treatment of carpal tunnel pain for golfers
- repairing of ligaments and pain reduction in MCL injuries caused by skiing
- pain reduction and improvement of range of motion after ankle sprains in basketball
- improvement of tendon repair in wrestlers with Achilles rupture or tendinitis
- relief for sprains and strains for martial arts practicers
Considerations when using ultrasound for sports-related tissue damage recovery
While this type of therapy can work extremely well for many patients, there are risks associated with treatment of any kind. In particular, this therapy may not be appropriate for those who have a history of cancer or acute infections, for those who are pregnant, or for those with additional health concerns. Be sure to talk with your doctor to assess whether you’re a viable candidate for ultrasound surgery.
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