When treating chronic pain it is worth trying procedures such as infrared and ultrasonic treatment which act in a non-invasive way to cure or lessen the effect of the pain. These two methods of alternative treatment involve the use of ultrasound and infrared, harnessing the healing effects of sound and light respectively.
Ultrasonic Treatments for Chronic Pain Relief
Ultrasonic treatment, which evolved in the 1940’s, involves the use of high-energy sound waves, transmitted through a transducer head, to treat painful joints and muscles. It is mainly used by physical and occupational therapists. It utilizes high or low frequency sound waves, which are transmitted to the affected area to cause deep tissue and muscle warming. This promotes relaxation of the tissue and is effective in the treatment of spasms and muscle tightness. The sound waves also cause the blood vessels to dilate increasing circulation to the area requiring healing.
Thermal vs. Mechanical Ultrasonic Treatment
There are two types of ultrasonic treatment, thermal and mechanical. Thermal treatment uses a continuous transmission of sound causing a microscopic vibration in deep tissue molecules creating heat and friction. This encourages healing of the soft tissues.
Mechanical treatment uses pulses of sound to penetrate tissue, causing the tissue to expand and contract. This can decrease inflammation, reduce swelling and consequently reduce pain. Ultrasonic treatment is not painful – slight warmth may be felt or mild pulsing. Tight Calf Muscle Release Technique FREE TIP
Infrared treatment involves the use of specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing activity. Medical practitioners have used it for over 20 years, and it can involve the use of light panels and wraps.
Using light energy, invisible to the naked eye, infrared light therapy provides heat, which travels below the skin surface to a depth of up to 3 inches. This activates cell activity, creating cell repair and stimulation of the immune, vascular and lymphatic systems, resulting in the reduction of pain and inflammation. It also relaxes nerve cells and causes the release of endorphins, a natural pain -killer. Like ultrasonic treatment, infrared treatment is not painful.
Both treatments involve a plethora of equipment available. Physical and occupational therapists will use FDA approved equipment and will have received appropriate training to administer treatment.
At-Home Infrared and Ultrasonic Treatments
Hand held and portable equipment can be beneficial for home use or as an interim measure between treatments, but it is advisable to consult a professional regarding the type of device and correct usage. Incorrect use of ultrasonic treatment has been known to cause burning, especially if the transducer head remains still in one area for too long. Some medication may create photosensitivity making the patient sensitive to infrared treatment.
Infrared and ultrasonic treatments, while not suitable for every patient, may prove beneficial to chronic pain sufferers, and it may be worth discussing them with a medical practitioner.