WHAT IS SHOCKWAVE THERAPY?
Shockwaves are movements of extremely high pressure. In everyday life shockwaves can be caused by explosions, earthquakes or a plane breaking the sound barrier. In medicine, this application has been developed into Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT).
HOW DOES SHOCKWAVE THERAPY WORK?
Shockwave therapy uses an acoustic wave which carries high energy to painful spots within musculoskeletal tissues. The energy promotes regeneration and reparative processes within the bones, as well as tendons, muscles and other soft tissues. This leads to overall medical effects of accelerated cell growth and tissue repair, analgesia and mobility restoration.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF SHOCKWAVE THERAPY?
- New blood vessel formation
- Reversal of chronic inflammation
- Stimulation of collagen production
- Dissolution of calcified fibroblasts
- Dispersion of pain mediator “Substance P”
- Release of trigger points
WHAT INJURIES CAN SHOCKWAVE THERAPY TREAT?
Shockwave therapy is a treatment option for almost all sub-acute, sub-chronic or chronic musculoskeletal injuries, including:
- Jumper’s knee
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Heel spur
- Insertional pain
- Chronic tendinopathy
- Medial tibial stress syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Non-union fractures
IS THERE ANY RESEARCH EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE USE OF SHOCKWAVE THERAPY?
- Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (shin splints) – 85% of patients receiving shockwave therapy returned to active sports faster than the control group receiving no shockwave;
- Chronic Plantar Fasciitis – decrease in pain of more than 60% in patients with chronic plantar fasciitis after 3 months;
- Insertional and Non-Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy – 75% of patients had significant improvement in pain and range of motion;
- Knee osteoarthritis – 95% of patients had a reduction in painful symptoms and improvement in function of the knee joint;
- Children with Cerebral Palsy – improvement in muscle spasticity and motor function;
- Non-union bone fractures – over 80% of patients showed significant improvements in parameters of pain, weightbearing, decrease in fracture gap and callus formation 3 months after treatment.
DOES THE TREATMENT HURT?
Most patients tolerate SWT extremely well and report only minor discomfort during treatment, which ceases as soon as treatment is finished. Treatments typically last 5-10 minutes.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED AND HOW OFTEN?
This is totally dependent on the injury and the individual. The effect of SWT is cumulative so you will need more then 1 treatment. Typically, 3-5 treatments are recommended, with 3-10 days between treatments. Again, this is dependent on the tolerance of the patient and their tissue response.
ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS FOLLOWING TREATMENT?
It is recommended that patients refrain from physical activity, especially one that would involve the treated region, for 48 hours following each treatment session.
If you are interested in this as a treatment option for you – give us a call and ask for an appointment with Nerida