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Short Wave Diathermy

Short Wave Diathermy current is a high frequency alternating current. The heat energy obtained from the wave is used for giving relief to the patient. Its frequency is cycles per second and the wave length is Short wave diathermy applications.

  1. The Condenser Field Method (commonly used)
  2. Cable Method
Where Diathermy useful?
  1. Inflammation of Shoulder Joint
  2. Inflammation of Elbow Joint (Tennis Elbow)
  3. Degeneration of Joints of Neck (Cervical Spondylosis)
  4. Degeneration of Joints like knee and Hip (Osteoarthritis)
  5. Ligament Sprains in knee Joint
  6. Low Back Ache
  7. Plantar Fascitis (Heel Pain)
  8. Sinusitis
Where diathermy therapy should not be used? General
  1. High Fever
  2. Fluctuating Blood Pressure
  3. Very Sensitive Skin
  4. Persons with Untreated Fits
  5. Persons Using Cardiac Pace Maker
  6. Severe kidney and Heart Problems
  7. Pregnant Women
  8. Mentally Retarded Individuals
  9. Tuberculosis of Bone
  10. Malignant Cancer

If the treatment area has:

  1. Open Wounds
  2. Skin Disease
  3. Unhealed Scars
  4. Recent Burns
Advantages of Shortwave Therapy
  1. Relaxation of the Muscles
  2. Effective in Bacterial Infections
  3. Relief of Pain
Disadvantages of Shortwave Diathermy Therapy
  1. Burns
  2. Scalds (Boils)
  3. Overdose
  4. Shock
  5. Electric Sparking
  6. Faintness

Background and Purpose
Diathermy Equipments can be used to improve vascular circulation and reduce inflammation and pain for patients with osteoarthritis. However, reduction in synovial inflammation has never been explored. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether repetitive diathermy treatment, using ultrasonographic examination, could reduce synovitis in patients with knee osteoarthritis

Subjects and Methods
Thirty subjects with 44 osteoarthritic knees participated in this study. Eleven subjects received SW, and 10 subjects received SW and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Nine subjects received no treatment and served as a control group. Synovial sac thickness superior, medial, and lateral to the patella was measured using ultrasonography. The sum of these 3 measurements was taken as the total synovial sac thickness. Subjects in the treatment groups underwent ultrasonographic examination before and after 10, 20, and 30 treatments, whereas control subjects underwent ultrasonographic examination before the experiment and then once every 2 or 3 weeks for a total of 3 follow-up measurements.

After 10 Short wave diathermy machine, the total synovial sac thickness in both treatment groups was significantly less than the initial thickness, and the synovial sac continued to become significantly thinner with 20 sessions of treatment. These observations were not made in the control subjects.

Discussion and Conclusion
The results indicate that SW diathermy in patients with knee osteoarthritis can significantly reduce both synovial thickness and knee pain. Such reductions of synovial sac thickness and pain index continue over treatment sessions. [Jan MH, Chai HM, Wang CL, et al. Effects of repetitive shortwave diathermy for reducing synovitis in patients with knee osteoarthritis: an ultrasonographic study. Phys Ther. 2006;86:236244.]