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Therapeutic Ultrasound is the use of ultrasound waves to stimulate deep tissue. In large quantities, ultrasound waves produce heat which can enhance pliability and extensibility of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Ultrasound can provide heat at a deeper level than is possible with hot packs or other forms of surface heating. It is used primarily in conjunction with stretching and massage to enhance the effects of these therapies. Heat increases the metabolic rate of tissue and increases blood flow which can lead to reduced healing times. It also reduces pain and muscle spasms.
In addition to their heating effects, ultrasound waves have a direct action on healing. Ultrasound waves have been well documented to accelerate the inflammatory phase of repair, leading to shorter healing times and reduced pain. So in the acute stage of healing where heating of tissue is undesirable, lower levels of ultrasound can be used to reduce pain and enhance healing times. Ultrasound has also been used in the treatment of chronic wounds.
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