Real time ultrasound (RTUS) is an imaging tool used by physiotherapists for both diagnostic and treatment purposes. It provides immediate visual feedback of your muscles contracting (or not contracting!) on the screen, allowing you to understand what muscles should be working and see when you activate these muscles correctly.
At Toormina Physiotherapy, we are experienced at using this technology to help you retrain your deep core stabilisers. The abdominal muscles consist of multiple layers, each with their own specific purpose and function. Transversus abdominus forms the innermost layer and wraps around the torso from front to back. It acts like an inner corset that helps to support the spine throughout movement. Displaying images in real-time as you try to turn this muscle on can subsequently improve your ability to initiate and sustain an effective core contraction.
The deep abdominal muscles help to protect your spine from injury by stabilising all movement. In individuals who have never experienced low back pain, these muscles turn on or pre-activate (start working) prior to movement of your arms or legs. The literature has shown that the function of these muscles may be stopped or altered in the presence of pain. In individuals with low back pain, this pre-activation is delayed or in many cases, absent. Current research demonstrates the importance of retraining the deep core stabilisers after an episode of low back pain.