Ultrasound technology – which uses sound waves to reveal the structures underneath the skin – has become absolutely necessary for the accurate evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries including injuries to muscles, tendons, nerves, fascia, and joints. Used in conjunction with previously obtained X-rays and MRI – which offer static views – imaging someone in the office provides information about movement, and can point immediately to the cause of a patient’s pain.
The dynamic evaluation possible with ultrasound is especially important in seeing what happens to nerves and tendons as they glide through tissue. Nerves can get compressed, causing pain, numbness, or tingling (as in carpal tunnel syndrome). Tendons can get compressed during movement (i.e., the rotator cuff), or they can be torn (i.e., the Achilles or hamstring). Plantar fasciitis is easily diagnosed with ultrasound as tissue appears thickened or torn. Joints can also be evaluated. Gapping of the joint points to joint instability, which can cause pain and dysfunction. The use of an ultrasound probe to compress muscles can reveal fascia injury, evident when the tissue does not move normally.
Ultrasound is used during treatment with Prolotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma, Stem Cell therapy, Nerve Hydro-dissection, and Trigger Point procedures. The precision ultrasound provides improves results and helps avoid injury to nearby tissue.
The process of learning how to read ultrasound images is steep, and requires intensive training, which Dr. Stebbing has had.