Pulsed short wave diathermy is a form of electrotherapy, similar to Ultrasound. It is sometimes also called pulsed electromagnetic energy.
What is Pulsed Short Wave Diathermy?
Pulsed short wave diathermy uses electromagnetic energy to heat the underlying tissues. High frequency, short wave, alternating electrical currents are passed into the muscles, tendons, ligaments etc.
As the current alternates beteen positive and negative, this causes structures within the muscle to rotate in reaction. This friction from repeated movement causes an increase in temperature.
This works in a similar way to ultrasound, however diathermy can be used to heat a larger area and also heats the deep muscles more effectively. On the downside, diathermy units are expensive and can only be used by one person at a time.
What can Short Wave Diathermy be used for?
- Muscle strains.
- Ligament sprains.
- Tendinopathies (e.g. Achilles)
- Back or joint pain.
What are the Contraindications?
Short Wave Diathermy should not be used in the following circumstances:
- Over metal implants such as pins and plates.
- On the chest of patients with pacemakers.
- Over the abdomen or back of a pregnant woman.
- When infection is present.
- Over open wounds.
- Over cancerous tissue.