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Therapeutic Ultrasound … What, Why, & How

As a result of Ward’s recent injuries and diagnosis, ( you can learn more about that here ) his rehab specialist recommended that he be treated frequently with Therapeutic Ultrasound. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it on Ward’s Instagram, so I want to talk about what it is, what it does, and why we’re using it!

What : A Therapeutic Ultrasound machine is similar, but different than the ultrasound that was used to diagnose Ward’s injuries, and the one used to show babies in a belly. It does the same thing, but comes without a screen, because we aren’t using it for diagnostic reasons, just therapeutic reasons. Therapeutic Ultrasound can be done by a professional in a clinic setting, or at home by yourself. Ward’s specialist wanted him treated three times per week, minimum. Not only would seeing a practitioner for this get expensive, I simply don’t have time for that. For that reason, I purchased my own machine. I bought a human grade machine, which can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. In the long run, I’m coming out cheaper by having my own machine.

Why : Therapeutic Ultrasound has two effects on the body. Deep heating, and cavitation. Deep Heating : “Ultrasound is often used to provide deep heating to soft tissue structures in the body. Deep heating tendons, muscles or ligaments increases circulation to those tissues, which is thought to help the healing process. Increasing tissue temperature with ultrasound is also used to help decrease pain.” Cavitation : “Ultrasound introduces energy into the body. This energy causes microscopic gas bubbles around your tissues to expand and contract rapidly, a process called cavitation. It is theorized that the expansion and contraction of these bubbles help speed cellular processes and improves the healing of injured tissue.” Both effects that the Therapeutic Ultrasound has will be effective and beneficial in Ward’s healing process.

How : “Inside an Ultrasound unit is a small crystal. When an electrical charge is applied to this crystal, it vibrates rapidly, creating piezoelectric waves. These waves are emitted from the ultrasound sound head as ultrasound waves. The Ultrasound wave then enters into your injured tissues during application of the modality. This increases blood flow and cavitation, leading to the benefits of the treatment.” To physically use the machine, I must first give Ward a fresh clip. You want the hair as short and close to the skin as you can get it, because the hairs can interfere with the wavelengths. After that, apply the conductive gel to the spot of treatment, as well as the head of the probe. Treatment sessions range from 10-30 minutes, and at different levels. During treatment, you must keep the probe constantly moving, either in a circular or up and down motion. The dog does not feel anything but a slight warmness during treatment.

Hopefully this clears up a lot of the questions about Ultrasound that I’ve been receiving! Ward seems to love his sessions, and I’m thankful that I have this tool at home for daily treatment!

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