Real-time ultrasound (RTUS) is starting to become more popular in physical therapy clinics as a means to assess how muscles contract and relax. RTUS helps identify whether a patient is activating the correct muscle during an exercise.
With RTUS, the therapist places a probe on the area of assessment and the probe connects to a computer which then displays an image. The image displayed shows the many layers of muscles and surrounding tissues in real time. As the patient activates their muscles, the image will show which muscle layer is contracting.
As pelvic floor physical therapists, we look to visualize the layers of the core, back and pelvic floor- all which can be assessed with the probe placed on the abdomen. We utilize RTUS to visualize the many layers of muscles to ensure that patients are activating muscles correctly and avoiding compensations which could be putting too much stress on the pelvic floor and surrounding tissues.
When a patient is compensating, the image shown will display an activation pattern that results in increased pressure and bearing down on the pelvic floor. By seeing the muscles in real time, patients are able to use a visual cue to allow the to have a deeper connection with their body.
We use RTUS to teach patients how to recruit their core and pelvic floor properly and then apply that during challenging and functional exercises. By applying a proper core and pelvic floor contraction to exercise, we are able to assist patients with improving their symptoms during real movements and functions.
Want to learn more about how real time ultrasound can help you? Call us!