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What is real-time or diagnostic ultrasound?

Real time ultrasound is the same type of ultrasound imaging technology that is used during pregnancy to view an unborn baby – except that in physiotherapy it can be used to view and measure how your muscles work. Your Physiotherapist may use an ultrasound machine to show you the deep core stability muscles of your abdomen or lower back, your pelvic floor muscles, or the rotator cuff muscles of your shoulder. Using the images on the screen, you can see the muscles move and learn how to best switch-on the muscles to better support your movement.

During the scan, your Physiotherapist will hold the ultrasound probe against your skin, using some gel to enable contact. You can perform gentle exercises while you watch the screen and your Physiotherapist will show you what the images mean. Once you’ve mastered the exercises with real-time ultrasound, you can use the same muscle actions throughout your exercise program.