Rehabilitative Ultrasound Imaging
Our therapists are trained in the use of Ultrasound Imaging (USI) to assess and treat the muscles that support your lumbar spine, pelvis, organs and thorax. When doing an ultrasound assessment, therapists can look at the transversus abdominus, multifidus, obliques, pelvic floor muscles, diastasis rectus abdominus (if present), linea alba, and the behaviour of these muscles under load or during movement or contraction.
If you have a history of back or pelvic girdle pain, stress urinary incontinence, rectus abdominus diastasis or if you have been pregnant, these muscles may not be working properly. It is essential to retrain these muscles to facilitate recovery of normal movement and movement control.
There have been many studies done regarding this technology that has determined that we can glean valuable information from looking at the muscles beneath the surface. Part of what is so valuable, is that YOU can see what is not working properly and learn to activate the muscles that are dysfunctional so that you can learn to use them again. This is tricky - because these muscles are normally not under voluntary control, it is harder to learn to contract them than it would be for more superficial muscles. In fact, when you contract some of these muscles correctly, it feels as though you are doing nothing at all! Fortunately, you and the therapist can see the muscle contract on the ultrasound, which ensures that you can learn to use these muscles efficiently again.
When you have no pain or movement planning problems, the deepest muscles in the system contract a few milliseconds before movement to control your spine, pelvis and intra-abdominal pressure. In the presence of pain or altered function, the muscles lose their ability to perform this stabilizing function effectively. It has also been revealed by researchers that, although sometimes the pain goes away, you can still have poor control of these deep muscles which can lead to pain that keeps on coming back. Because these deep muscles have such an important role in the resolution (or perseverance) of pain, the ultrasound is a very valuable tool.
Our ultrasound uses the same kind of technology that is used at the hospital to look for pathology and to monitor pregnancy.