Ultrasound is high-pitched sound that people cannot hear. These high-pitched sound waves are sometimes used to treat muscle spasms and pain and to promote healing.
Ultrasound at higher intensities creates a deep heat. This heat may help to ease muscle spasms, relax and warm muscles, and increase muscle elasticity before stretching and exercise.
Ultrasound may also act on the cells to promote healing. At lower intensities, ultrasound can have this healing effect without also heating the tissues.
Excessive use of either the heating or non-heating properties of ultrasound can damage tissues. Ultrasound is not typically used for children.
Current as of: May 23, 2016
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy
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