Microwave Diathermy/MWDs; Indications, Contraindications

Microwave Diathermy(MWDs)
User Review
5 (5 votes)

Microwave Diathermy(MWDs) are electromagnetic radiation emitting systems that are used by physiotherapists for thermotherapy treatment. Microwave diathermy utilizes electromagnetic radio waves with frequencies of 915 and 2456 MHz. Based on the physical properties of these waves and the corresponding dimensions of the microwave antennae, microwave diathermy has two unique properties that can be used to clinical advantage. The first is that microwaves are selectively absorbed in tissues with high water content such as muscle. This makes microwave diathermy ideally suited to treat pathologic processes that occur in the muscles and adjacent fat. The second is that microwaves are more easily focused than the short waves used in short wave diathermy, decreasing energy leaking and thus making heating more efficient and circumscribed.

Microwave diathermy uses electromagnetic radiation by microwaves and heats to a lesser tissue depth than short-wave diathermy. It is primarily used to heat superficial muscles and joints such as the shoulder. Besides its use in musculoskeletal conditions, this modality has been employed to reduce the potential effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiation treatment.


All patients were treated in the department with MWD in the low back region for 15 min, 6 times in a weak for four weeks. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and therapeutic exercises with activities of daily living instructions were prescribed to all the patients.

Indications of Microwave Diathermy(MWDs)

Indications for microwave diathermy are generally similar to those for shortwave diathermy. A superficial penetration of microwaves should not constitute any limitation, because a reflexive mechanism seems to be a leading mode of action for both methods. Therefore this kind of therapy can still be widely used for, among other conditions, arthritis, back pains, neuralgias, and (using a special radiator) chronic adnexitis.

You Can Also Like   Paraffin Wax Baths Indications, Contraindications

Conditions for which microwave diathermy may be used for treatment include the following examples

  • Osteoarthritis of knee
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • PLID in the acute phase
  • Tennis elbow
  • Ligament Sprains
  • Muscle strains
  • Tendonitis,
  • Joint inflammation,
  • Plantar fasciitis,
  • Metatarsalgia,
  • Facet irritation,
  • Impingement syndrome,
  • Bursitis & scar tissue adhesion.
  • Adhesion formation
  • Pain and muscle spasm
  • Rotator cuff tendinopathy
  • Hematoma
  • Bursitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Muscle strains and tears
  • Sprains and ligament injuries
  • Joint contracture or tightness
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Ankle sprains/ Strain
  • Capsulitis
  • Joint stiffness
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Scar tissue
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Calcified tendinitis
  • Tuberculosis of lungs or bone
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Anaesthetic area
  • Haemophilia
  • Reproductive organ
  • Acute infection
  • Brain and spinal cord

Contraindications of Microwave Diathermy(MWDs)

Contraindications are the same as in the case of shortwave diathermy. It is also important to remember that microwaves can be harmful; eye lenses and the reproductive tissues of testicles and ovaries are especially at risk. Partial protection can be provided by screening the room in which the microwave diathermy is performed.

  • Tissues previously treated with deep X-ray or radiation
  • Tuberculosis (local)
  • Damaged or at-risk skin, i.e. skin rash, eczema
  • Anesthetic areas
  • Excitable tissue,
  • With pregnant women
  • Around the eyes, breasts, or sexual organs
  • Over fractured bones
  • Near or over an implanted electrical stimulation device
  • Women who are pregnant should consult their physician before beginning IRR light therapy treatments.
  • Clients with epilepsy should consult their physician before beginning IRR light therapy treatments.
  • You must wait five days after Botox or cosmetic fillers.
  • Some thyroid conditions.
  • Tuberculosis
  • People with a history of skin cancer
  • Systemic Lupus erythematosus should also avoid this kind of treatment.
  • The use of photosensitizing medications (i.e. lithium, melatonin, phenothiazine antipsychotics, and certain antibiotics).
  • Diseases that involve the retina of the eye
  • Acute inflammation
  • Infected open wound
  • Malignant tissue
  • Severe/excessive edema
  • Metallic implant
  • Cardiac pacemaker
  • Over wet dressing
  • Unreliable patient
  • Impaired thermal sensation
  • Recent radiotherapy
  • Severe cardiac abnormality
  • Blood pressure abnormality
  • Over the stellate ganglion
  • For hemophiliacs not covered by factor replacement
  • The spinal cord after laminectomy
You Can Also Like   Opponents Splint, Indications, Contraindications


Microwave Diathermy(MWDs)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email