When patients are recovering from an injury or chronic condition, physical therapy can help restore function and improve quality of life. However, as powerful as physical therapy is, it can be a time-consuming practice which is dependent a patient’s ability to adhere to their physical therapy schedule and home exercise programs. When a patient experiences pain, they need access to alternative pain methods, like therapeutic ultrasound, that can be utilized both as part of their physical therapy program, either in the office or at home.
Patients with acute and chronic pain often seek out pain relief methods for immediate relief. Some of these methods include oral pain medication, which can include opioids. Opioid use comes with a certain risk of negative side effects which includes: sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, physical dependence, tolerance, and respiratory depression. Practitioners can help educate patients on alternative pain relieving modalities. Innovations have led to the creation of several clinical grade modalities that can be used for practitioners who perform at-home treatments and by patients for use at home to help reduce their pain. One of these modalities which can be beneficial for use at home is ultrasound therapy.
The Benefits of Ultrasound Therapy for Home Use
Ultrasound therapy can be used for home treatments to help patients:
- Reduce acute and chronic pain after injury or as part of a chronic condition.
- Targeted reduction in swelling and edema at site of injury or pain.
- Jump starts healing in muscle tendons and/ or ligaments after injury.
Ultrasound therapy offers many advantages over oral pain medications including:
- No side effects
- Broad treatment applications
- Couples well with other modalities
The question for practitioners who perform at-home treatments and patients interested in trying an ultrasound therapy device at home is “what machine to use?” Practitioners are in a unique position to help educate patients on the merits of different devices to help them choose the right therapeutic ultrasound device to meet their unique needs.
The Best Ultrasound Therapy Devices for Home Use
- Soundcare Ultrasound Therapy Machine: The SoundCare Plus Ultrasound Machine from Current Solutions is a great device to consider for home treatments because with the included 2 sound heads (1 cm and 5 cm), it’s possible to treat a wider variety of injuries effectively. Not only that, but with an ergonomically-designed soundhead applicators and easy-to-read digital panel, the Soundcare plus is simple to set up and use.
- Us Pro 2000: The Current Solutions US Pro 2000 Ultrasound Machine is a great choice for both practitioners and patients alike for in-home pain treatments. This portable ultrasound device provides 3 different preset time settings at 3 different duty cycle or intensity settings for maximum versatility. The US Pro 2000 comes standard with a 5-cm soundhead applicator which can be used to target small areas, like elbows and larger areas, such as the low back.
Ultrasound therapy works well with other modalities, like electrical stimulation and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). When considering modalities for home use, therapeutic ultrasound/electrical stimulation combination units are a good choice, because it can help provide effective pain relief, but also help improve treatment outcomes. All ultrasound combination machines have different features, so we’ve compiled a list of a few of the best therapeutic ultrasound/e-stim devices on the market today.
The Best Ultrasound Therapy/Electrical Stimulation Devices for Home Use
- ComboCare: The ComboCare Combination Therapy Device is an innovative and affordable device that includes 5 electrotherapy waveforms which can be used separately or in combination with ultrasound or additional waveform, for maximum therapeutic applications. The Combo Care Ultrasound Combo device was designed for easy portability and with 50 electrical stimulation presets and 20 ultrasound presets, it’s easy to set up and can begin to give relief to patients immediately.
- Intensity Cx4: Top of the line, Intensity Cx4 was designed for both portable and clinical use. Featuring both four-channel electrotherapy and therapeutic ultrasound, the Cx4 is simple to use with easy set-up of treatment parameters and the ability to store up to 99 favorite protocols for future use. Increasing its clinical applications, practitioners can treat up to three patients at once to improve treatment efficiency. The Intensity Cx4 was designed to offer 4 channels of independent stimulation which can either be used in combination (linked) or solo to improve treatment outcomes.
- Chattanooga Transport: The Chattanooga Transport is the most comprehensive ultrasound therapy combination machine available on the market today. In addition to 2 channels of electrotherapy output and four waveforms, the Chattanooga Transport offers both continuous and pulsed treatments to offer relief to patients with diverse conditions and injuries. One of the most unique features of the Chattanooga Transport is that it comes with watertight, water proof soundhead applicators, so practitioners can help provide treatment in addition to hydrotherapy. While the Chattanooga unit comes with an easy to use 5cm sound head applicator, the unit can also be used with corresponding applicators available in the following sizes: 1cm, 2cm, and 10cm, to give practitioner’s the ability to choose the best applicator to provide targeted treatment depending on their patient’s individual needs.
Ultrasound therapy is a wide-reaching modality, which can be used to help provide in-home relief for diverse patients and conditions, including:
- Chronic and acute low back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Post-ACL repair
- Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Frozen Shoulder
- And more
Things to Consider When Using Ultrasound Therapy for Home Use
- Choose a machine with a soundhead applicator best suited to the area of treatment. For example, smaller soundhead applicators are great for smaller, bonier areas of the body like knees and elbows.
- Always be prepared with ultrasound gel to provide the safest and most effective treatment.
- With electrical stimulation, be prepared with needed supplies such as: electrodes, wires and straps
- Choose ultrasound modes depending on a patient’s needs: continuous ultrasound therapy creates a deeper thermal effect which helps decrease muscle spasms and can be used to treat deeper tissue issues and injuries or pulsing therapy which is appropriate for treating trigger points and closer surface injuries.
- Keep track of treatment parameters by programming into the ultrasound devices programmable library and with accurate charting.