Usage Patterns and Beliefs about Therapeutic Ultrasound by Canadian Physical Therapists: An Exploratory Population-Based Cross-Sectional Survey
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This 2013 Canadian survey of the usage of ultrasound found that “despite the questionable effectiveness of therapeutic US, physical therapists still commonly use this treatment modality, largely because of a belief that US is clinically useful. However, US usage has decreased over the past 15 years.”
PURPOSE: To explore the frequency and patterns of ultrasound (US) usage among physical therapists, to describe the most common purposes for using therapeutic US, and to investigate beliefs about therapeutic US.
METHODS: A survey was sent to 95% of physical therapists licensed to practise in the province of Alberta, Canada.
RESULTS: Of 2,269 physical therapists to whom email invitations were sent, 438 (19.3%) provided full responses. Results indicate that US is still frequently incorporated into treatment regimens and is widely believed to be effective; however, the study also found a decrease in US usage over the past 15 years. While physical therapists recognize the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of US, many consider it clinically useful. Physical therapists using US rely largely on their clinical experience when making decisions about its use, but this depends on level of education: clinicians with an MScPT degree tended to base more of their US decisions on research evidence, likely because of the increasing emphasis on research evidence in graduate education.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the questionable effectiveness of therapeutic US, physical therapists still commonly use this treatment modality, largely because of a belief that US is clinically useful. However, US usage has decreased over the past 15 years.
- “A survey of therapeutic ultrasound use by physical therapists who are orthopaedic certified specialists,” an article in Physical Therapy, 2007.
- “Clinical application of electrotherapeutic modalities,” an article in Physical Therapy, 1988.
One article on PainScience.com cites Armijo-Olivo 2013 as a source:
- PS Does Therapeutic Ultrasound Work? — Many concerns about the widespread usage of therapeutic ultrasound, especially extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)