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How Do I Administer Ultrasound Therapy at Home?

By Patti Kate
Updated Feb 11, 2024
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To administer ultrasound therapy at home, you will need an electronic device designed specifically for that purpose. This device may be purchased at a medical supply store, online, or directly from a manufacturer. Therapeutic ultrasound machines are generally compact, hand-held, and easy to operate. They are designed to regenerate injured tissues and relieve pain through the use of heat and sound waves. Depending upon your injuries, you may use the machine for 15-20 minute sessions, on a daily basis or as recommended by your physician.

When using ultrasound therapy at home, you should apply an ultrasound gel to the area to be treated. Using slight pressure, run the device over the affected area. If you've been seeing a physical therapist for an injury or medical condition, such as tendinitis, arthritis, or fibromyalgia, he can instruct you on the proper method for using ultrasound therapy at home.

It is relatively easy to use the hand-held device on elbows, shoulders, or knees. For treating hard-to-reach areas, however, you may need to have someone else administer your ultrasound therapy at home. To treat your back, lie face down on a therapy table or bed while someone glides the device over the injured area. You may feel a tingling sensation from the sound waves, and you may also notice your skin begin to feel warm.

For treating a wide area, such as your back, choose a machine that has a large head. For elbows, shoulders, or knees, a small head should be adequate. It's best to choose an ultrasound therapy machine with a long cord, as this will allow you more freedom. When beginning a regimen of ultrasound therapy at home, your therapist or physician may recommend applying analgesic creams during treatment. It's best to do this only under the supervision of a doctor, however.

If you are diabetic or have open wounds that haven't healed, do not use ultrasound therapy at home without consulting your physician. This type of therapy is also not recommended for those with heart conditions or epilepsy. Always read the precautions on the package before using any type of ultrasound therapy at home.

Patients who are younger than 18 also should not use ultrasound therapy at home without the advice of a doctor. If you believe you could be pregnant, you should not use ultrasound therapy. If you develop unusual symptoms during treatments, such as swelling or skin irritation, you should stop use and consult a physician.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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