Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy is a modern and highly effective treatment option in orthopaedic and rehabilitation medicine. The term shockwave refers to mechanical pressure pulses that expand as a wave in the body.
Current research reports success rates between 65 and 91% in reducing patient’s pain and symptoms after a course of 3-5 sessions.
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These waves are acoustic waves which carry high energy to painful spots and myoskeletal tissues with subacute, subchronic and chronic conditions. The energy promotes regeneration and repair of the bones, tendons and other soft tissues.
Shockwave therapy interact with tissue causing overall medical effects of accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, analgesia and mobility restoration.
How can this help you?
- Shoulder Pain (Calcifying tendinitis of the shoulder, subacrominal pain syndrome, frozen shoulder)
- Elbow Pain (Tennis/ Golfer’s Elbow)
- Hand Pain (Dupuytrens disease, De Quervain disease, trigger finger and Carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Hip Pain (Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome, Hip Bursitis)
- Hamstring Pain (Hamstring tendinopathy, insertional)
- Knee Pain (Osteoarthritis, patella pain syndrome, Jumpers knee)
- Achilles Pain (Achilles tendinopathy, insertional and mid body)
- Heel Pain (Plantarfasciopathy, Heel Spurs)
How does it work? (The sciencey bit...)
New Blood Vessel Formation - Nutrient blood flow is necessary to start and maintain the repair processes of damaged tissue. The application of the shockwave creates ‘capillary microruptures’ in tendon and bone so increases blood flow.
Dissolution of Calcified Fibroblasts - Calcium build-up (scar tissue or ‘knots’) is most often the result of micro-tears or other trauma to a tendon. Acoustic waves break up the existing calcifications- like a rolling pin breaking up a digestive biscuit.
Release of Trigger Points - Trigger points are one of the principal cause of pain in the back, neck, shoulder and limbs. Shockwave can be used to release these trigger points.
Stimulation of Collagen Production - The production of a sufficient amount of collagen is a necessary precondition for the repair processes of the damaged myoskeletal and ligamentous structures. Shockwave therapy accelerates ‘procollagen synthesis’.
Reversal of Chronic Inflammation - Shockwave works to enhance the inflammatory process and this then helps restore normal healing and regenerative processes.
Will Shockwave therapy help me?
Most patients with chronic pain problems have been through various unsuccessful types of treatments. Up to 80% of the same patients worldwide report that Shockwave therapy has helped them eliminate their problem. Current research reports success rates between 65% and 91% in reducing patient's pain and symptoms after a course of 3-5 sessions.
Does the treatment hurt?
There may be a slight feeling of discomfort during the treatment, depending on the level of pain the patient is already experiencing in the area. However, since the treatment lasts only about five minutes, most patients are able to tolerate this discomfort. The machine is often referred to sounding like a pneumatic drill but then patients are suprised that it isn't too painful- it sounds worse than it is! You can have a break whenever you want and the intensity of the treatment can be adjusted throughout the session.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments varies depending on the indication and tissue response. The effect of the treatment is cumulative, so you will typically need 3–5 sessions. Very often though, you will experience relief right after the first treatment.
How often will I need the treatment?
Most indications require 3–5 treatments which are done 7–10 days apart, depending on the patient’s tolerance and their tissue response. Sometimes we do 4 sessions then leave it 4 weeks as the body can continue to heal/break down scar tissue in this 4 week break period and then review it after 4 weeks. Then occasionally a couple more sessions are required but this is normally if a patient has been struggling with the particular injury or irriation for a prolonged period (typically +6 months).
Will I feel any pain after the treatment?
Most patients will experience an immediate pain relief following the treatment. However, within 2–4 hours after the treatment, they may experience some soreness in the treated area. This soreness has been reported as tolerable and not limiting.
Are there any restrictions after the treatment?
It is recommended that patients refrain from physical activity, especially one that would involve the treated region, for about 48 hours following each treatment session.
We are always happy to answer any other questions you may have - please call us directly and we can arrange for a Physiotherapist, who is trained in shockwave, to have a chat with you.