What is Real Time Ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging involves the transmission of sound waves into the body. Sound waves reflect from tissue boundaries that they encounter. The signals are collected and displayed as images. Rehabilitative Ultrasound Imaging allows the Physiotherapist to observe movement of tissue such as fascia and muscle, in real time. Valuable insight is realized as to how the deep stabilizing muscles of the core are working. The Physiotherapist can then analyze the relevance in the overall picture the patient presents.

Current research demonstrates that the most common muscular problem in clients with low back, neck or pelvic girdle pain, is not weakness, but more so a loss of the proper succession or co-ordination of muscle contraction. This is an insufficiency in motor control and largely affects the deep stabilizing muscles. These core muscles are essential for stabilizing the spine and pelvis and should tighten prior to any movement or compression. Ultrasound Imaging allows Physiotherapists to observe the function of these deep muscles to make sure they are doing what they are believed to do during routine tasks.

When is Real Time Ultrasound used?

In real time assessment of muscle function, cross sectional area and firing patterns of potential dysfunctional muscles. Ultrasound imaging is used as biofeedback for re-educating the proper co-ordination and succession of muscle contraction during exercise. Restoring the best possible sequencing of muscle contraction is called core training and differs from core strengthening. You cannot strengthen a muscle that your brain cannot find! You will tend to use the muscles that are working incorrectly and at the wrong time. RUI teaches you how to switch on the correct muscles at the correct time. You can then advance to exercises for core strengthening. In as little as 30 proper repetitions, your brain begins to remember the most advantageous way to use the deep system. Many patients find that being able to see their muscles work ‘live’ and ‘on-screen’ makes a big difference to ‘finding their core’ and moving to the next stage of their rehabilitation process

Assessment requirements

You will be asked to book a special appointment for the first visit using RTUS. This session takes approximately 30 minutes. For accurate imaging of your pelvic floor muscles it is important that you come with a moderately full bladder. Empty your bladder one hour before your appointment and then drink 500 mL (2 cups) of water during this hour. Do not empty your bladder until after your appointment.

Physiotherapists at Peak Performance Physiotherapy are trained in the use of ultrasound imaging and integrate this tool into their treatment plans. It is a useful addition for both the assessment and treatment of muscles difficult for both Physiotherapist and patient to feel and observe during functional tasks. Time Ultrasound changes a formerly difficult concept into an exciting visual experience designed to assist your rehabilitation.

What Conditions Benefit from Real Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy?

Ultrasound physiotherapy can be used for any muscle retraining. The most popular conditions that can be assisted by real-time ultrasound physiotherapy include:

  • Diastasis Rectus Abdominus (Rectus abdominus separation)/ Lower Back Pain
  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Perinatal low back pain
  • Incontinence (bladder/bowel control)
  • Pelvic instability
  • Hip pain (gluteal tendonopathy
  • Patellar maltracking – VMO activation
  • Core Exercises
  • Pelvic floor issues