Real time ultrasound uses harmless sound waves to create an image on a screen for you to see of what’s going on inside under the skin. It is the same technology we use to image babies during pregnancy. Physiotherapists have been using real time ultrasound for decades to help patients get more from their physiotherapy consultations.
How can Real time ultrasound help me?
There are many uses for real time ultrasound. Physiotherapists commonly use this technology to image muscles deep inside us that are hard to palpate and measure. The images can help to determine the health and function of these muscles. Here are two common uses of a real time ultrasound machine that we use here at Synergy Physio.
Number One: Assessing the Core Muscles
- Do you have trouble with your core muscles?
- Have you got abdominal separation after pregnancy (rectus diastasis)?
Your core muscles need to be working effectively to support the spine and pelvis. Real time ultrasound can be used to image and see these ‘core muscles’. We can then identify which layers of muscle are activating when the core is contracted, and if there are any problems with accurate contraction.
From here we can use the images to help you learn how to best activate your own core to support your lower back or pelvis. The real time ultrasound can be used not only to see the images but also to help train your muscular system.
The real time ultrasound can also be used to measure abdominal separation more accurately. This is known as rectus diastasis and is common after pregnancy. Physiotherapist can use the images found on real time ultrasound to assist in measuring the abdominal wall separation, as well as helping you find ways to recover and reduce the separation.
Number Two: Assessing the Pelvic Floor
- Are you experiencing pelvic floor weakness after pregnancy?
- Has the onset of menopause created havoc with your bladder, leaving you always on the lookout for the nearest bathroom?
We can also use real time ultrasound to image the function of the pelvic floor and muscles that control continence. By simply imaging the lower tummy we can determine if the pelvic floor muscles are working well. We can also measure things like bladder function and using the images we can help you recover your pelvic floor health.
Real time ultrasound imaging is a painless, non-invasive technology. The physiotherapist will apply the ultrasound over the area they wish to see (usually the stomach). They will then point out on the image screen the muscles and teach you how to effectively contract certain muscles. You have the ability to see this in “real time” on the screen which can help your recovery.
In summary, we can use real time ultrasound to show you how to contract your core and pelvic floor, which can help guide you to better health. Many patients report that ‘seeing’ their core helps them ‘find their core’. This can be helpful for anyone who has suffered low back pain, pelvic pain, hip pain, had a baby, experienced incontinence or any individual who feels their core is ‘weak’.
Our team here at Synergy Physio offer expertise in the management of lower back pain, pregnancy related problems (including womens health), hip pain and spinal problems. We look forward to helping you!