Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultrasound Treatment For Hurt Muscles May Feel Good, But Doesn't Promote Healing, Study Suggests

Date:
April 13, 2004
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Ultrasound therapy does nothing to help an injured skeletal muscle heal any faster, according to a new study conducted in rats.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ultrasound therapy does nothing to help an injured skeletal muscle heal any faster, according to a new study conducted in rats.

Although ultrasound is one of the most frequently prescribed treatments for one of the most common sport and athletic injuries – skeletal muscle contusions – there's really no good scientific evidence showing that it treats injured muscles effectively, said Steven Devor, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of sport and exercise sciences at Ohio State University.

Devor and his colleagues used ultrasound to treat contusion injuries inflicted on rats' gastrocnemius muscles – the main muscle in the calf.

Ultrasound treatment didn't hasten healing at all, even when compared to injured muscles that weren't treated with ultrasound.

"It didn't make one bit of difference in the time it took the treated and non-treated calf muscles to heal," Devor said. "Millions of people receive ultrasound treatment every year for muscle injuries, with insurance companies usually covering the cost."

Ultrasound treatments can cost around $50 per 15-minute session.

The study appears in a recent issue of the International Journal of Sports Medicine.

The researchers dropped small weights – about six ounces – onto the gastrocnemius muscles of rats' right and left hind limbs. The impact created a contusion in each muscle.

"The injury is similar to what might happen to a field hockey player if she was struck in the calf with a hockey stick," Devor said.

The researchers treated one hind limb on each rat with ultrasound daily for seven days for five minutes per session. Ultrasound waves were transmitted through a small wand that was rubbed along the rats' limbs. The other limb, used as the control, was left to recover on its own. Rats were sacrificed at various points during the two-month study so that the researchers could evaluate how each gastrocnemius muscle was healing.

The researchers compared a variety of markers in the muscle tissue from the ultrasound treated and non-treated legs of each rat, including muscle mass, protein concentration and muscle fiber cross-section. Cross-section simply refers to the amount of force a muscle can exert – the greater the cross-section a muscle possesses, the more force it can produce.

A comparison of these markers led the researchers to conclude that the muscles treated with ultrasound healed at the same rate as the muscles that were left to heal naturally.

While Devor doesn't discount that ultrasound treatment may feel good, he worries that treating a sports-related muscle injury with ultrasound may give an athlete a false sense of security.

"Because the injured muscle feels better after ultrasound treatment, an athlete may be tempted to get back in the game before the skeletal muscle injury is really healed," Devor said. "This puts him at risk for more significant re-injury if the muscle isn't completely healed.

"I'm supportive of the placebo effect – massaging an injury may make the person feel better," he continued. "But in this case, ultrasound treatment didn't have any physiological effect. Medical practitioners who administer this treatment regularly need to ask more questions about its effectiveness in treating injured skeletal muscle."

The results from this study may readily translate to human muscular injuries, as the structure of skeletal muscle tissue is the same across species.

"Our skeletal muscle tissue is the same as what's in a rat, dog, cat, etc.," Devor said. "The difference is that the tissue is exposed to diverse hormonal environments."

He and his colleagues are continuing to study ultrasound therapy – they're currently looking at the effect that different types of ultrasound have on skeletal muscle contusion injuries.

In the meantime, Devor's best advice is that injured athletes let muscles heal as Mother Nature intended – on their own time.

This study was supported by a seed grant from Ohio State.

Devor conducted this work with Ohio State colleagues Timothy Kirby, an associate professor of sport and exercise sciences; Mark Merrick, an assistant professor with the School of Allied Medical Professions; and Linda Wilkin, a graduate student.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Ultrasound Treatment For Hurt Muscles May Feel Good, But Doesn't Promote Healing, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040412234906.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2004, April 13). Ultrasound Treatment For Hurt Muscles May Feel Good, But Doesn't Promote Healing, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040412234906.htm
Ohio State University. "Ultrasound Treatment For Hurt Muscles May Feel Good, But Doesn't Promote Healing, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040412234906.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins