Dr. Christopher Lannon - Personalizing conservative healthcare for a better experience.
Ultrasound and Electric Stimulation Therapies
 
      E-stim (electric stimulation) and ultrasound therapy have been used for decades by chiropractors, physical therapists and athletic trainers.  The therapies differ from each other, but the end results/goals are the same.  These treatments provide pain relief and tissue healing.
 
 

 
Ultrasound
 
      Ultrasound is a powerful tool capable of alleviating pain and treating various medical conditions.  The units designed for treatment do differ from the ones used in imaging studies.  Ultrasound therapy uses a more concentrated use of lower ultrasonic frequencies.  There are several types of ultrasound therapy, including chiropractic/physical therapy (musculo-skeletal injury); cancer treatment; cataract removal; plastic surgery; and dental therapies.  The most common is chiropractic/physical therapy for musculo-skeletal injury.
      Ultrasound therapy has been shown, especially when provided in low impulse bursts,  to speed up recovery time by stimulating cell reproduction.  The difference from cold laser is there is no new energy introduced.  The sound waves (sonar) stimulate your body's immune response and blood flow to accelerate healing.  I have found combining more than one modality (coldlaser, e-stim, ultrasound) has a tremendous healing effect on the body.  Various major journals have confirmed the benefits of ultrasound therapy.
      This is one of those modalities that feel good to have administered.  I use a very powerful Richmar unit (Rich-Mar-HV II).  This is one of the strongest units available today.  The treatment consists of using a treatment specific cream/gel (sombra, ultrasound gel, cortisone) with a circular motion of the ultrsound head.  Usually a deep penetrating (up to 4 inches) warm sensation is felt during the application.  The ultrasound will aid in the increased penetration of the gel/cream used.  This even further accelerates the reduction of pain and inflammation. 
     
 
 

 
E-Stim Therapy
 
      Electric stimulation therapy is a form of physical therapy to treat muscle pain and spasms.  It can be administered by a professional therapist (chiropractor, physical therapist, athletic trainer) or through lower strength units for home use.
 
      The three main types are general (interferential, pre-mod, microcurrent), muscular (Hi-Volt, Russian) and TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).  General e-stim is used for pain and tissue healing and is the most often used type in my office.  Muscular e-stim is used for strengthening and often helps with rehabilitation.  A TENS unit is for chronic pain.  This is the most common home unit purchased and I often will prescribe a unit for those patients needing pain management.
      General e-stim can decrease pain/spasm, better the body's circulation and increase range of motion.  By working to decrease pain and increase strength, e-stim can help improve the quality of life for my patients.  There are countless studies from major universities showing a positive and statistically significant effect in improving endurance and reducing fatigue and chronic pain. 
 
      I have found that e-stim works well when accompanied by other modalities or techniques.  Rarely do I use e-stim alone.  I do prescribe an affordable (less than $100) TENS unit when necessary.  The primary unit used in my office is a Rich-Mar Winner ST2.  This is one of the most powerful units available and gives me the option to use various ranges, currents and frequencies.  My unit can be programmed for basic interferential, pre-modular interferential, hi-volt, russian and microcurrent.  Each one of these currents are beneficial depending on the ailment.  So your diagnosis will dictate what settings are used.