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What is pulsed shortwave diathermy?
Pulsed shortwave diathermy uses electromagnetic energy where high-frequency short-wavelength electrical currents are passed through the body to produce a mild heating effect in deep and superficial tissues.
What does pulsed shortwave diathermy do?
Very similar to ultrasound in that pulsed short waves act at a cellular level. The energy used:
Vibrates cellular ions Causes a rotation effect upon the cell Causes a molecular distortion upon the cell
What is the thermal effect?
As this energy is being used, there is a momentum created upon the damaged cell i.e. vibration, rotation and distortion which cause a thermal effect. Some of the benefits of this include:
Increase the metabolic rate and so speed up the rate at which the cell is working. Increase the extensibility of collagen fibres which may allow them to realign themselves – becomes more elastic. Dilates blood vessels which will allow the flow of nutrients to the injury site and may assist in flushing debris away. Will allow muscle spindles to relax which will reduce pain.
An increase in Phagocytes which pick up dead cells and debris. An increase in collagen deposits to assist in laying down fresh new tissue. An increase in white blood cells to kill infection.
When would we use pulsed shortwaves?
Pulsed shortwave diathermy can be used at all stages of injury including much larger traumas and the following conditions:
Traumatic synovitis Haematomas – swelling Acute infections – infections Chronic infection – long-standing infections Peripheral nerve lesions – nerve damage Pain associated with Osteo-arthritis and neurogenic pain
When we can’t use pulsed shortwaves (contraindications)?
The following are some of the conditions where pulsed shortwave diathermy can not be carried out:
Pacemakers Pregnancy Malignancies Impaired thermal sensation Uncontrolled movements Venous thrombosis Pyrexic patients Active TB Ischaemic tissues
Obesity Hearing aids Synthetic materials Cognition Metal work
A full medical history would be discussed in the initial consultation, which is completely free.
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