Real Time Ultrasound Imaging (RTUI), also known as diagnostic ultrasound, is a safe and painless diagnostic tool. It is useful for individuals with low back, pelvic, hip or leg pain. It may also be utilized for women who are pregnant or have a child and are experiencing incontinence or weakness of the pelvic floor muscles due to the trauma incurred during pregnancy.


RTUI enables an image of the deep spinal muscles to be viewed on the ultrasound screen in “real time” to determine whether the correct spinal muscles are working as they should be for your protection. The physiotherapist can explain the findings displayed on the screen and discuss their relevance to your problem. It is an effective form of visual feedback to teach, correct and retrain poor or incorrect muscle contractions. It enables identification and isolation of the correct muscles for contraction and to determine the adequate contraction strength required for optimal outcomes.


Using this technology ensures a rehabilitation programme that addresses real problems more efficiently and more effectively. The results of the scan will maximize the benefits of any exercise programme which may incorporate a home exercise programme, a gym based programme or a Clinical Pilates class. This is achieved as it enables the formulation of the best exercises to manage your problem therefore increasing your chance of a successful rehabilitation programme. Research shows that 80% of low back pain sufferers experience a recurrent episode within a year. However, training of the core stability muscles after ultrasound scans has been demonstrated to reduce the likelihood of re-injury to 23%.


RTUI takes 40 minutes, one on one, with the Physiotherapist. The Physiotherapist will use the diagnostic ultrasound to assess the control of your core muscles, explanation of the strengths, weaknesses and activation of you back’s core stabilizing muscles. You will then be given recommendations for necessary treatment services, time frames and cost to meet your goals and outcomes. You will need to work on the problems identified by the Physiotherapist.

The frequency of appointments will depend on how chronic your problem is, the type of lifestyle you engage in, the amount of time you can commit to and the outcomes and goals you have set. There will be home exercises and advice given based on the findings. A follow-up ultrasound examination is imperative to ensure that the contraction that you have been practicing is the correct contraction.

Having a full bladder will maximise the picture quality. We would appreciate you drinking 2 glasses of water the ó  hour prior to your appointment.

Bay Physiotherapy Centre has physiotherapists skilled in the use of RTUI. Make an appointment today for an assessment of your core muscle control or discuss further with your physiotherapist.

To learn more about Ultrasound, or to book an appointment, contact us on 07 5779798.