Real Time Ultrasound

Real Time Ultrasound imaging of the stabilising muscles of the lumbar spine is conducted by one of our physiotherapists. This modality is ideal for an accurate and objective assessment of the activation and function of these muscles and it is then used to provide biofeedback during muscle retraining.

Ultrasound imaging will benefit patients of all ages who may have:

Poor core stability

Mechanical back pain

Obstetric related back pain

Pre and Post spinal surgery

Osteoarthritic conditions

How can Real Time Ultrasound Help Me?

Your physiotherapist will assess the function of your deep stabilising muscle using Real Time Ultrasound. These muscles will be viewed at rest and when being actively contracted. A specialised exercise program when then be designed to meet the individual needs of the patient. This will be a gentle exercise program, which will improve the activation and tone of the deep stabilising muscles, which help protect and support the spine.


Ongoing research has confirmed the importance of spinal segmental muscular control and highlights how, with acute back pain, inhibition of these muscles occurs at a segmental level. Research has demonstrated motor control problems in the Transversus Abdominis muscle during presence of low back pain. This is evidenced by an inability to activate a corset like contraction. Clinical research is showing that specific exercises shown to you by your physiotherapist may be effective in the management of pain and prevention of recurrence.

Abstract: “Research reveals that the primary impairment of the muscular system in individuals with low back pain is not one of strength or functional capacity but rather one of motor control of the deep muscles of the trunk. These deep muscles include the transversus abdominis, the deep segmental fibers if lumbar multifidus, the pelvic floor and the diaphragm. Advances in knowledge regarding load transfer in the lumbopelvic region have provided the orthopaedic manual therapist with the necessary tools to assess most components of lumbopelvic dysfunction with the exclusion of an evaluation technique for pelvic floor motor control. The use of ultrasound imaging to observe the real-time contraction of muscles is a valuable tool, specifically when the muscles of interest are deep and not readily observable.”

Abstract from the Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy Vol 12 No. 1 (2004) 44-49 Jackie Whittaker, BScPT, FCAMT, CAFCI