Shockwave Therapy: What Is It?
Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy (ESWT), often known as Shockwave Therapy, is a non-invasive medical procedure that uses acoustic waves to promote tissue recovery. It has demonstrated promising outcomes when treating several conditions.
How do I get a Shockwave Therapy appointment?
Shockwave therapy can be administered by both our chiropractors and physiotherapists during your session and is covered by your extended health benefits. You will likely start to see results in your first visit and maximal results in 3-6 visits.
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
By boosting blood circulation and increasing metabolism to restore injured tissue, shockwave quickens the healing process. Shockwave works by delivering strong energy pulses, known as shockwaves, to the affected area for short periods of time. The body's cells that are in charge of bone and connective tissue healing are stimulated by this. These acoustic pressure waves created by these energy bursts are then transmitted radially into the body.
What Conditions Is Shockwave Therapy Best Suited For?
Here are some conditions that have demonstrated positive outcomes with Shockwave Therapy:
- Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of the tissue in the foot used during walking and foot movement. It is commonly experienced as heel discomfort and heel pain. Many things can contribute to plantar fasciitis including the type of shoes you wear, the structure of your foot and even the surfaces you walk on. Most patients report less pain and better function after having a shockwave treatment.
- Tendinopathies: Shockwave therapy has demonstrated promising results in the treatment of a variety of tendinopathies including Achilles tendinopathy, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis), rotator cuff tendinopathy, jumper’s knee (patellar tendinopathy) and hamstring tendinopathy. In these tendon-related disorders, Shockwave aids in promoting the healing process, decreasing discomfort, and enhancing function.
- Shoulder Calcifications (Calcific Tendonitis): Calcific tendonitis occurs when calcium deposits form within a tendon, typically in the shoulder. Shockwave therapy has been found to be effective in breaking down these deposits and reducing pain associated with calcific tendonitis.
- Hip Bursitis (Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome): Hip bursitis is the inflammation of one of the hip’s bursa or cushion that protects tendons and muscles from rubbing against bone. One of the most typical reasons for hip pain is hip bursitis. Other joints of the body, such as the shoulders, knees, or elbows, can also develop bursitis. It is typically brought on by an accident, such as falling or hitting your hip on a hard surface, or even by long periods of resting on your side. Symptoms usually include joint pain and tenderness.
- Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capulitis): Frozen shoulder involves stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. It occurs when the connective tissue surrounding the join thickens and tightens. It is usually caused by inflammation in the capsule of the shoulder joint rending one’s shoulder bones unable to move freely in the joint.
- Heel Spurs (Platar Fasica Ethesopathy): A heel spur is a bony growth that protrudes below your back heel bone inside your foot. Heel spurs are caused by stress on the muscles and ligaments of your feet which further stretch out the plantar fascia and tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone..
- Myofascial Trigger Points: Localized knots or tight bands within muscles can cause pain and restrict movement. By targeting myofascial trigger points in the body through shockwave, pain can be reduced, muscle tension released and range of motion improved.
- Stress Fractures and Non-Union Fractures: Stress fractures are tiny cracks in a bone. They can be found in bones weakened by osteoporosis and also from repeated force to an area caused by jumping upon and down or running long distances. By stimulating blood flow and encouraging bone regeneration, shockwave therapy can result in positive outcomes. The same is true with non-union fractures, or fractures that have not healed properly.
- Non-Healing Wounds: Non-healing wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers can also benefit from shockwave therapy. By increasing blood flow, promoting tissue regeneration and reducing inflammation.
- Chronic Muscle or Joint Pain: Chronic muscle pain could be the result of myofascial pain syndrome. Pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (also known as trigger ponts) causes pain in the muscle and seemingly unrelated parts of the body. This is often referred to as referral pain. Chronic joint pain usually arises from inflammation or infection in one’s joints. This can result in swelling, restricted movement, stiffness and pain. It is often a symptom of many conditions. Shockwave therapy has shown beneficial outcomes when treating these conditions.
Shockwave’s effectiveness may depend on various factors, including the severity of the condition and an individual's overall health. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help determine whether it's an appropriate treatment option for a particular condition.
What Happens in a Shockwave Treatment?
Here’s what you can expect during a shockwave treatment:
- Preparation: Your practitioner will ask you to lie down or sit comfortably depending on the area being treated. A gel will be applied to the treatment area to amplify the transmission of the shockwaves.
- Application of Shockwaves: A handheld device will be used by your practitioner to deliver the shockwaves to the targeted area. This device is pressed and moved around your skin on the affected area and the shockwaves are transmitted through the gel.
- Sensations: You may experience sensations such as pulses, vibrations, or tapping sensations in the treated area upon application of the shockwaves. The intensity of the sensations can vary depending on the specific condition being treated and your pain threshold.
- Communication: It is important to have a discussion with your practitioner beforehand to understand what to expect during the shockwave treatment specific to your situation. Let your practitioner know if you experience any significant discomfort or pain during the treatment so they can adjust the intensity or settings of the shockwave device accordingly.
- Treatment Duration: A typical shockwave therapy session takes between 10-15 minutes, although the actual time the shockwave is applied is only a few minutes. During that time, over 2,000 pulses are applied in quick succession.
- Number of Sessions: Shockwave therapy is usually administered as a series of treatment sessions. The number of sessions can vary depending on the condition being treated, but it often ranges from three to six. The sessions are typically scheduled at weekly intervals.
- Post-Treatment Care: After the session, you can typically resume your normal activities. However, your healthcare provider may provide specific instructions for post-treatment care, such as avoiding intense physical activities or applying ice to the treated area. It's important to follow these instructions to optimize the treatment outcomes.
- Follow-up Evaluations: Your practitioner may schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as necessary depending on how you to respond to the treatment.
Exercises for Shockwave Therapy
In addition to the shockwave treatment, targeted exercises can aid recovery by strengthening affected areas and improving flexibility. The exact exercises recommended will depend on the specific condition being treated, and our experts at Backs In Action will be able to provide a personalized exercise plan to accompany your shockwave therapy.
Unlock the potential of shockwave therapy with Backs In Action. Our mission is to help you overcome pain, improve mobility, and return to an active, healthy lifestyle. We offer:
- Expertly guided shockwave therapy sessions
- Personalized exercise plans to aid recovery
- A holistic, patient-centered approach to health and wellness