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Physical Therapy Ultrasound Contraindications

When Should You Not Use a Therapeutic / Physical Therapy Ultrasound

A physical therapy ultrasound device, also called therapeutic ultrasound, may be used by your physical therapist to
  • Help soften your tight muscles or other tissues to improve your range of motion;
  • Help increase blood flow to your injured body part to aid in faster healing; or
  • Relieve your pain.

However, therapeutic ultrasound should not be used on certain body parts or on people with certain conditions. Know more about the contraindications for physical therapy ultrasound.

Therapeutic Ultrasound Contraindications

There are certain areas in the body and certain conditions in which ultrasound therapy is avoided. Some of these are enumerated below.

Ultrasound should not be used
  • On areas of the brain and spinal cord
  • On the eyes and genitals
  • Over the lower back, abdomen and pelvic area of a pregnant woman
  • On areas of bone growth (growth plates) in children and adolescents
  • On areas with active cancer or tumor
  • On patients with bone or tissue infection
  • If patient has thrombophlebitis – an inflammation of a vein due to a blood clot
  • Near or over a cardiac pacemaker
  • Over the area of the carotid sinus in the neck.
  • On patients with decreased or diminished sensation
  • On acute injuries or inflammation
  • On patients who are unable to communicate

Just like other physical therapy heating modalities, care should be observed when applying ultrasound to avoid burn injuries. Apply sufficient amount of ultrasound gel and the sound (transducer) head should always be in contact with the client’s skin while it is continuously moved.

See Also

Guidelines for the Safe Use of Ultrasound: Part I - Medical and Paramedical Applications. Website, Health Canada, 2006. Accessed on June 30, 2011

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Conditions / Injuries | Physical Therapy | Health and Wellness

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