Two Bears Physiotherapy & Health Services

Two Bears Physiotherapy & Health Services

Quality, Professional Care


What is Real Time Ultrasound and What can it do for me?

Posted on 16 June, 2016 at 22:15

Have you ever been told to contract your core or pelvic floor and had no idea if you were doing it correctly or not?

Real Time Ultrasound (RTUS) is a machine similar to those used in obstetrics that allows this to happen. High frequency sound-waves (inaudible to us) are sent into the body from the probe and create a two-dimensional image of the underlying tissues. It is a painless and non-invasive way for both the physiotherapist and yourself to see what is actually happening when a muscle contracts.

This can be used very effectively to aid in treatment and rehabilitation of:

• Low back pain and sciatica
• Pelvic pain and instability in pregnancy (SIJ etc.)
• Pelvic floor muscles and incontinence

The deep core stability muscles Transversus Abdominis and Multifidus co-contract to directly stabilise the spine and reduce low back pain. However, these muscles can be hard to feel (as they are deep beneath other muscles and tissue), so being able to visualise the actual muscle on RTUS allows you to learn to correctly contract them in isolation and recover faster.

RTUS has also been shown to be valid and reliable at assessing pelvic floor function which can be a useful adjunct or alternative to an internal exam. Both men and women of all ages can be affected by pelvic floor dysfunction, which can cause low back/pelvic pain, incontinence or loss of sexual enjoyment or function. Correct activation is crucial to recovery.

A study conducted in 2001 by Hides et al. showed that your chance of not experiencing another episode of low back pain within 12 months are 4.4 times better if you have undertaken an ultrasound guided exercise program. Furthermore, if you complete the exercise program, after 3 years, you still have a 2 in 3 chance of not experiencing low back pain.

At Two Bears Physiotherapy we use RTUS both during physiotherapy treatments for many of the above conditions, and also during the initial assessment for pilates classes. This ensures that you know how to correctly activate your core, as well as allowing us to reassess over time, and prescribe specific exercises to help you achieve optimum results.


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