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Ultrasound Physiological Effects

Indication for ultrasound:

  • Soft tissue shortening (joint contracture, scarring, and adhesions).
  • Subacute and chronic inflammation.
  • Muscle guarding, sprain/strain, bursitis and tendonitis.
  • Tissue healing.
  • Edema (swelling) reduction.

Thermal effects:

  • Increased local temperature, metabolism, and blood flow.
  • Portion of energy from the ultrasound wave is absorbed into the tissue structure and converted into
    heat energy.
  • Amount of heating is determined by the frequency and intensity of the ultrasound.
  • Decrease local adhesion formation and nerve conduction velocity.
  • Increased connective tissue elasticity.

Non-thermal effects:

  • Mechanical: increase cellular diffusion, membrane permeability, collagen synthesis and break down of soft tissue adhesions.
  • Acoustic streaming: physical forces of the sound waves that provide a driving force capable of
    displacing ions and small molecules.
  • Mechanical pressure applied by the wave produces unidirectional movement of fluid along and around
    cell membranes.
  • Chemical increase in enzyme activity, ATP activity, cell membrane permeability, and tissue repair.

Source: Physical Assessment by Dr. Nikita A. Vizniak