Ultrasound and Cerebral Palsy
Updated: Jan 2
When I try something new on Julian and his reaction after it is “Ah…that feels good!” I know it is something worth investigating!
Ultrasound therapy is rarely talked about in terms of cerebral palsy. Actually, in the past 10 years not one physio has ever brought it up as a viable treatment for Julian. Which is hard to believe, considering that ultrasound has been used in physio therapy since the 1950s.
Many benefits of therapeutic ultrasound for cerebral palsy relate to muscle flexibility and circulation.
Below are some thoughts I’d like to share concerning ultrasound therapy and why I’ve decided to attempt it in my son’s cerebral palsy battle. As my goal is only to discuss how ultrasound can be beneficial to treat cerebral palsy, I have only addressed tissue warming, and the subsequent benefits achieved from it.
[The following notes only relate to ultrasound devices in the 1MHz to 3MHz range. These ultrasound devices can be purchased online for as little as £50 ($70).]
What is therapeutic ultrasound?
Ultrasound waves are created through the vibration of crystals in the probe of the ultrasound device. The probe is what is rubbed against the skin. The ultrasound waves pass through the tissue and cause the molecules to vibrate. This vibration makes the area within the tissue warm. The warmth is not felt by the individual because it all happens below the dermis.
The warming action on the tissue has the following benefits:
• It promotes tissue relaxation
• Warms muscles and tendons
• Increases local blood flow
• Helps with scar tissue breakdown—internal and external.
Because of these benefits alone…ultrasound is a perfect addition to cerebral palsy therapy.
The intensity of the frequency you set the device to determines the tissue depth affected. Lower frequencies are used for more superficial activation or where bones are nearby.
As there are many contraindications to using ultrasound, it requires special attention. Also, it is always recommended to get professional guidance when considering any therapy. Discuss the use of therapeutic ultrasound with a physiotherapist or osteopath to see if it might benefit your needs.
NB One study suggests that excessive use of ultrasound may exacerbate cancer.