Phonophoresis is a physical therapy technique that combines ultrasound and topical medications. A topical medication is a medication that’s applied directly to your skin. Ultrasound waves then help your skin absorb the medication into the tissues beneath.
Phonophoresis treats inflammation and pain in your muscles, ligaments, and joints. Phonophoresis may be used alone or as part of a treatment or therapy plan.
What conditions can phonophoresis help treat?
Phonophoresis is commonly used to treat sprains, strains, or injuries. It can be used on:
other parts of your musculoskeletal system
Conditions that may respond well to phonophoresis include:
carpal tunnel syndrome
temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow
osteoarthritis of the knee
Many other conditions may also be treated with phonophoresis.
How does phonophoresis work?
During the procedure, our team follows three main steps. First, they will apply a medicated ointment or gel to your skin near an injured or inflamed joint or muscle. Medications commonly used in phonophoresis include hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, and lidocaine.
Next, they will apply ultrasound gel to the area where the topical treatment has been applied. This gel helps the ultrasound waves travel through the skin.
Finally, they will use an ultrasound head tool on the area where the topical treatment and gel have been applied. Ultrasound wave frequencies deliver the medication through the skin into the tissue beneath.
How effective is phonophoresis?
Some research suggests that phonophoresis may not be any more effective than typical ultrasound therapy for conditions like myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). Other research shows that phonophoresis is more effective than ultrasound therapy for conditions like knee osteoarthritis.
Phonophoresis is generally thought to be more effective when used with other treatments or therapies.
Your doctor will likely recommend other therapy treatments in addition to phonophoresis. Treatments may involve:
RICE method. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are used to reduce pain and swelling after an injury.
Corticosteroid shots. Cortisone drugs are injected into your muscle or joint tissue to help relieve inflammation.
Manipulations and exercises. Your doctor or therapist uses directed movements on your affected joints or muscles by hand to help you regain mobility. Your doctor may also recommend exercises you can do at home to get your joints and muscles moving more easily.
Medication. You may need medications for pain and discomfort. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often used for pain.
Are there any risks associated with phonophoresis?
There are no known risks associated with phonophoresis. Ultrasound carries a minor risk of burns if the procedure isn’t done correctly.
What should I ask my doctor before trying phonophoresis?
As with any procedure, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your treatment plan before beginning any new procedure. Some questions you may want to ask include:
Will my injury or condition respond well to phonophoresis?
Is phonophoresis the best option? Is another treatment, such as regular ultrasound therapy, a better choice?
What other treatments might I need along with phonophoresis?
Will my pain be relieved or feel less pronounced with phonophoresis?
Does my health insurance cover phonophoresis treatments?
Talk to your doctor today about the benefits of starting therapy or contact one of our four locations!