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New Pain Treatment Uses Ultrasound at Home

from The Wall Street Journal

The Ache: Ultrasound energy is widely used by physical therapists and other clinicians to treat sports injuries and chronic pain. But because the machines are hand-held, treatment is generally limited to 15 minutes or less. Some scientists think longer treatments will be more effective.

The Claim: New wearable ultrasound devices can be used almost anywhere for four to six hours, sometimes more, at a time.

The Verdict: Several small studies show reduction in pain in the upper back, pelvis and rotator cuff, as well as increased mobility among people with arthritic knees. But the work remains preliminary and larger, more rigorous independent studies are needed to prove the devices' effectiveness, says Stephen G. Rice, a sport medicine doctor in Neptune, N.J., and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Since the machines cost about $1,000, "I wouldn't be running out to buy one," he adds. more

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