Ultrasound is a method of stimulating the tissue beneath the skin's surface using very high frequency sound waves, usually between 1 million and 5 million Hz (vibrations per second) which cannot be heard by humans.
These sound waves are produced by a device called a 'Sound Head' which essentially vibrates at a chosen frequency, with lower frequencies penetrating depper than higher frequencies. This vibration is applied to the patients body by placing the sound head against the area requiring treatment. A gel is used to 'couple' the sound head to the client. This is absolutely necessary as otherwise significnat heat will be generated at the sound head due to friction as it vibrates millions of times per second against air molecules passing by.
The vibrations are transmitted through the tissues of the area being treated resulting in many physical changes including increased tissue temperature, increased blood flow, and increased cellular uptake of nutrients and fluids. In addition, ultrasound can be used to increase uptake of various medications through the skin, a process called phonophoresis, which your physician may recommend for some medical conditions involving inflammation of superfical tendons.
Ultrasound is successfully sed as treatment for many orthopedic conditions including but not limited to tendonitis, bursitis, scar tissue adhesions, ligament injuries, joint sprains, and arthritic conditions.
Ultrasound treatment will vary in time based on the settings your therapist uses, but expect low intensity pulsed ultrasound treatment to last 12-15 minutes and higher intensity continuous treatent to last 7-12 minutes, all depending on the size of area to be treated and the nature of the condition.