What You Didn't Know About Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy is a series of high-energy sound waves applied to chronic painful areas of injured soft tissue. It is a mechanical wave rather than an electrical wave. The shock waves "kick-start" a new inflammatory response in the tissues and the body accelerates its own natural healing process by increasing blood circulation.
-Everyone has a different tolerance for pain, but overall most patients describe it as "uncomfortable" and most people can easily handle a few minutes of treatment. Your therapist can adjust the machine so you can get used to it.
Shockwave therapy can be used to treat long-term pain and discomfort. A shockwave machine works like this: A handheld device moves over a conductive gel on the skin, sending waves of energy to painful areas of the body. These mechanical pressure pulses (called shock waves) work by re-injuring tendons and tissues, which in turn stimulates blood flow and helps the problem area heal (new blood vessel generation).
Shockwave therapy does not require surgery, which means there is no chance of infection and very little risk of tendon rupture, which can occasionally happen with steroid injections. There is no need for medication. This is a great technique if all your other treatment options have failed.
Not just for tendon injuries
Yes, shockwave therapy can be used to treat pain in areas like the Achilles tendon, but there is evidence that it can help with other conditions from Peyronie's disease (penile curvature syndrome) to intractable plantar fasciitis (police heel), and it can even help reduce the appearance of cellulite! It is also indicated for chronic shoulder pain (calcific tendonitis of the shoulder) and hip bursitis on the outside of the hip, which causes discomfort on one side when people lie down or try to perform certain exercises.
This is often used to treat targeted, deep-rooted pain conditions and is particularly indicated for joint-related problems. The device uses piezoelectric ceramic crystals to generate pressure waves that pass through the tissue into the target area to a depth of 8 cm. This creates cavitation bubbles that collapse, creating secondary shock waves. This method is less painful than the radial option.
This is ideal for 90% of the problems we see in the clinic. For example, the more superficial soft tissues/tendons. In fact, some studies have shown that this treatment can help with osteoarthritis and bone healing, such as delayed bone discontinuity fractures. This procedure works in the same way as the focused approach, except that the radial shock wave does not penetrate as deeply, so it is considered for more superficial conditions.
What can Shockwave Therapy treat?
Pain at the back of the heel or the tendon
Pain under the sole of the foot - Plantar Fasciitis
Pain in the hip area, running down the outer thigh
Runners knee - Patellofemoral Tendinothpathy
Gluteal Tendinothpathy - pain in the back of hip
Bony heel spurs
This treatment should only be performed by an expert practitioner who understands the potential adverse biomechanics of the body to ensure the best possible outcome. If your hospital or your massage parlor would like to purchase a shockwave machine to treat your patients, please contact us for a quote.