As Physiotherapists one of the tools we have in our rehabilitation kit is an ultrasound imaging machine – it is the same kind of ultrasound scanner that is used in radiography, and enables us to see into the deeper layers of the body looking for how these deep layers of muscles are working.
In the last 20 years research has shown that one of the biggest factors in a number of conditions is the function, strength and coordination of the deep abdominal muscle known as Transversus Abdominus (TA) and how it works in coordination with the Pelvic Floor muscles to stabilise the spine and pelvis.
These muscles are too deep to be able to accurately assess by feeling, (although the pelvic floor can be assessed manually) so RTUS enables us to see through the layers to the muscles themselves.
Transversus Abdominus (TA) Not Functioning
The implications of these muscle groups not functioning well is huge – from chronic low back pain, to incontinence and prolapses, hip and pelvic pain – these muscle groups are fundamental to the integrity of your whole body – that’s why we call them the “core muscles”.
And with RTUS we can get a good picture of how well they are working, and use them as a visual biofeedback tool to get them working in sync with each other again.
Your Physiotherapist may suggest a real time ultrasound evaluation if you are commencing a rehabilitation program, or if you have a condition or injury which is linked to a possible dysfunction in the core stabilising muscles.
What To Expect
Your Physio will ask you to lay down and reveal your lower belly.
Water based gel (which can be cold!) will be applied to the ultrasound probe which will then be placed on your lower tummy.
They will then instruct you in how to perform the movements using verbal and visual cues with the probe held in the correct place.
On the monitor you will be able to see the movement of the muscles, and link what you see with how it feels.
This will be repeated with both sets of muscles (transverse abdominis and pelvic floor) both viewable from the lower abdomen.
Your Physio will then instruct you with exercises at the appropriate level for you to practise at home.
You may then progress on to an In-house strengthening program where you can use the revived muscle control in conjunction with strengthening and mobilising exercises.
It may be necessary to reevaluate your progress in a future follow up with the ultrasound.
In Summary – physio’s use RTUS as another tool in our rehabilitation toolbox for muscle reeducation.
To make a booking at one of our practice’s press the button that’s below.
This blog was written by Nicole Brammy from the City East Physio practice.