Sound Power: Phonophoresis A Way PTs Deliver Meds

Phonophoresis: Enhanced Drug Delivery for Efficient Physical Therapy


Phonophoresis is a physical therapy technique utilized to deliver medication directly into the tissue of the body. It involves using ultrasound technology to create an acoustic pressure wave that penetrates deep into the tissue, allowing drugs and other treatments to be administered safely and quickly without having to rely on invasive methods such as injections. This method of treatment has become increasingly less popular in the field of physical therapy due to its lack of benefit.

What Is Phonophoresis?

Phonophoresis is a technique that combines the use of ultrasound technology with drug delivery systems to deliver treatments directly into the tissues of the body without having to rely on injections or other invasive methods. Ultrasound waves are used to create an acoustic pressure wave that penetrates deep into the tissue, allowing drugs and other treatments to be administered quickly and safely. The medication is then applied directly to the area being treated, meaning it can be more targeted than if it was taken orally or given through an injection.

The Science Behind Phonophoresis

Phonophoresis works through the use of sound waves. When these sound waves are directed at the tissue, they create an acoustic pressure wave that rapidly increases in amplitude and then decreases again. This causes a vibration in the tissue which helps to drive the medication into it. The sound waves can also be used to generate heat, which can help speed up the absorption process.

Benefits and Uses of Phonophoresis in Physical Therapy

Phonophoresis has been used historically in physical therapy to treat a variety of conditions, including muscle strains, tendonitis, arthritis, bursitis, and edema. It can also be used to deliver medications like anti-inflammatory drugs directly to the affected area, which reduces the risk of side effects and helps to reduce pain and inflammation more quickly.

The Phonophoresis Procedure

Phonophoresis is a relatively simple procedure that typically takes only a few minutes. The patient will lay down on the treatment table and the practitioner will use an ultrasound machine to generate the sound waves needed for the procedure. Once this has been done, the medication will be applied directly to the area being treated and the ultrasound machine will be used once more to help drive it in.

Risks and Side Effects

There are few risks or side effects associated with phonophoresis that can affect the patient. The most common is skin irritation, but this is usually mild and temporary. In rare cases, patients may experience a skin rash or burning sensation, but these can be managed with topical treatments if needed.

Comparisons with Other Techniques

Phonophoresis is often compared to iontophoresis, which works in a similar way but uses electric currents instead of sound waves. While both techniques are effective at delivering medications to the affected area, studies have shown that phonophoresis is more effective in reducing inflammation and pain.


Phonophoresis is a minimally effective, non-invasive treatment option for physical therapy patients. It can help reduce inflammation and pain quickly, with very few side effects or risks. All physical therapists can use Phonophoresis to deliver medication directly to the areas of the body that your physician has prescribed.