Phonophoresis is the use of ultrasound technology to enhance the body’s ability to absorb topically applied analgesics and other anti-inflammatory agents. The goal is to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and to improve overall mobility. It is believed that the use of ultrasound and phonophoresis improves the performance of the medication rather than simply applying it to the skin.
How Does It Work?
Practically speaking, phonophoresis requires the use of ultrasound combined with a medical cream or gel. The medication is applied directly to the skin, and ultrasound waves are then used to enhance the way the body absorbs the medication. Once the cream or gel is applied, a pulsed method is used over a continuous length of time.
When Is It Used?
Ultrasound and phonophoresis is most frequently used to treat inflammation of a muscle, tendon, ligament, or other soft tissue, though there are cases where this type of treatment is also used to help relieve pain. Specifically, phonophoresis is used to treat inflammations such as tendonitis, bursitis, adhesive capsulitis, and arthritis.
What Are The Benefits?
It is thought that the use of phonophoresis improves the body’s ability to absorb anti-inflammatory cream or gel faster than simply applying it topically. The benefit is that these medications do not need to be given invasively, but can still reach the targeted area in a faster manner than just applying it topically. When a patient takes an oral pain reliever, for example, it reaches all areas of the body, even if they are unaffected by pain. Phonophoresis only reaches the affected area. It is also a completely safe way to administer topical creams or gels.
Phonophoresis is also beneficial in cases where the medications need to penetrate to deeper areas of the body. Applying the cream or gel topically and massaging it into the skin can only reach so far; phonophoresis can help the medication go much further.
Which Medications Are Often Used?
More often than not, anti-inflammatory creams and gels are used to reduce the pain and swelling. These typically include hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, and salicylates. In cases where the ultimate goal is pain management instead of reducing inflammation, lidocaine may be used.
If you are prescribed with a topical cream or gel, but find that just applying it is getting you nowhere, you may want to consider phonophoresis or ultrasound. These services are offered at Chicago Chiropractic and Sports Injury Centers; call to schedule an appointment today!