Most people affiliate ultrasound therapy with pregnancy – and indeed ultrasound is a mainstay of prenatal care. But many patients are beginning to explore the role ultrasound therapy for back pain can play in providing non-invasive back pain relief. The same high-frequency sound waves used to examine a fetus in utero can work to stimulate blood vessels and improve circulation.
It may seem like a quirky method to those so used to hearing surgery offered as the only solution to back pain. But for patients suffering everything from herniated discs to reduced flexibility, ultrasound therapy for back pain is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
How Ultrasound Therapy for Back Pain Works
Ultrasound therapy works by beaming high-frequency sound waves into the body. Unlike diagnostic ultrasounds used to provide images inside the body, ultrasound therapy targets the muscles, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues with a burst of waves that can increase circulation, decrease inflammation and break up scar tissue. If you’ve ever tried to use heat for back pain, you’ve experienced a similar concept.
Ultrasound therapy typically is performed by chiropractors, physical therapists and athletic trainers, though portable home ultrasound units are also available. Using a conductive gel to help the sound waves penetrate more deeply, the provider will beam waves into the patient in a circular motion. It’s painless and can reduce discomfort from many conditions, including osteoarthritis, pinched nerves, back strains and more.
It’s even used as a “warm up” prior to stretches or therapeutic exercises – your favorite football player may have even used it for quick relief!
Why Some Patients Prefer Ultrasound Therapy for Back Pain Relief
The benefits of ultrasound therapy for back pain and other painful conditions are straightforward: It’s painless, noninvasive and the procedure itself can even be relaxing. It’s less costly than many surgeries and less anxiety-provoking; ultrasound therapy often is combined with ice and heat therapy as an alternative to back surgery.
As we enter the heightened information age, more patients are looking online for back pain treatment options. At the same time, a generally increased interest in natural ways of living is driving people to find new ways of facing old medical conditions.
Add to that a barrage of negative media coverage surrounding the use of steroids for back pain and it’s not hard to see why ultrasound therapy for back pain is gaining a following.
But as with any treatment, there are contraindications. Ultrasound therapy for back pain is not recommended under the following circumstances:
- If the patient is a child (treatment can stunt growth)
- If the patient has circulatory issues
- If the patient has a pacemaker, treatment should not be used near the chest
- If the patient has cancer or infectious areas, treatment should not be used nearby
- If the patient has an open wound
The treatment should also not be used near the eyes. When dealing with back pain, it’s important to realize there are not wrong or right treatments – only the best treatment for each individual patient. Explore both surgery and alternative methods of pain relief to discover whether ultrasound therapy for back pain is truly the best option for you!