Real Time Ultrasound (RTUS) is a tool that allows both the patient and the physiotherapist to view muscle contraction as it happens.
RTUS can be used as both as an assessment tool and as a form of visual feedback. This is often very helpful when first trying to learn how to activate certain muscles that are deeply placed in the body which are otherwise impossible to see.
This can be used for any muscle, but most commonly it is used in a physiotherapy context for learning or improving how to contract the deep abdominal muscles, like transverses abdominis, multifidus and the pelvic floor.
Is RTUS appropriate for me?
RTUS can be helpful in the following situations:
- Chronic low back pain sufferers
- Sacroiliac and pelvic pain
- After surgery, especially back, abdominal or pelvic surgery
- After childbirth
- To help with injury prevention
- To help achieve best performance of core muscles in sport
If you are doing Pilates, the Real Time Ultrasound assessment may be a part of your initial assessment, as part of the process of learning how to feel your deep stabilising or ‘core’ muscles.
To get an image of transversus abdominis, you are lying on your back with your tummy exposed, and the probe is put just above your hip bone, and in the centre of your tummy.
To get an image of your pelvic floor, you are lying on your back too, and the probe is put on your tummy and angled down in the direction of your pubic bone.
To get an image of multifidus, you are lying on your tummy and the probe is put on your back muscles.