Real Time Ultrasound

Posted by SportsMed NQ, 10 December 2014

Real Time Ultrasound:RTUS

Retrain your core whilst watching your muscles activate in real time!

What is Real Time Ultrasound?

Real Time Ultrasound (RTUS) is an imaging tool that uses high frequency sound waves and echoes to produce an image. This machine is similar to what is used when looking within the womb of a pregnant woman. Our physiotherapists here at SportsMed NQ use RTUS to view deep stabilizing muscles of the body. This real life imagery is displayed on the screen and enables our physiotherapists to provide a comprehensive assessment of the quality, control and strength of the muscle contraction. Furthermore, RTUS allows patients to watch their muscles activate on the screen beside them, whilst their physiotherapist takes them through a variety of core-based exercises. RTUS allows the patients to receive unique feedback on how well they are activating their stabilizing muscles and whether they are performing the prescribed exercises correctly and safely.

Stabilizing muscles vs. movement musclesRTUS

The body comprises of movement and stabilizing muscles, where the movement muscles allow the body to move and the stabilizing muscles provide support and protection to the body. Movement muscles are generally larger muscles that produce a great force of power and live closer towards the skin surface. Examples of movement muscles include the Rectus Abdominis muscle in the core, the Quadriceps muscle in the thigh and the Biceps muscle in the arm. Stabilizing muscles on the other hand are considered much smaller and live deep, underneath the movement muscles. These stabilizing muscles, including Transverse Abdominis in the core and Multifidus along the spine, produce a gentle and continuous force of power over a long duration.


How can Real Time Ultrasound benefit me?

Deep stabilizing muscles such as Transverse Abdominis and Multifidus are essential for good spinal health and protecting and stabilizing the low back. Following episodes of acute or chronic low back pain, spinal surgery, incontinence or poor posture, these stabilizing muscles become weak and inactive. Due to the inactivity of these muscles and lack of support to the low back, the patient may experience ongoing pain, with the incidence of re-injury becoming higher and future recovery becoming lengthier.

Our physiotherapists will use a combination of hands on techniques to help alleviate a patient’s current pain levels and enhance their range of movement, and use RTUS to assess and educate patients regarding the activation of their deep stabilizing muscles. RTUS will assist patients to recruit and strengthen their weakened stabilizing muscles to ensure an earlier and safe recovery. Patients will be given immediate visual feedback as they watch the muscles they need to activate on the screen next to them, which will allow for a better understanding of that is required for their recovery.

What will the screen look like?Pilates #8

The picture to the right is an example of what a patient will see on screen when using RTUS. Our physiotherapists will go through and explain each section of the screen, which will allow the patient to visualize the different muscles and structures in the core. Patients will then be educated on how to isolate Transverse Abdominis in order to strengthen and regain muscle function, all whilst watching this deep stabilizing muscle contract and relax.


If you experience low back, hip or pelvic pain, or are interested in commencing clinical Pilates classes and learning more about engaging your core muscles correctly via the use of Real Time Ultrasound, please call 07 4771 3650 (Bayswater Road Clinic) or 07 47742860 (North Shore Clinic) to book an appointment with our Physiotherapists.


Written by: Elisabeth MineoLiz


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