Shockwave therapy: Benefits and conditions you can treat

What is shockwave therapy?

Shock wave therapy is a type of electrotherapy widely used in physiotherapy, orthopaedics and sports medicine. It is an electronic device with multifunctional abilities aiming to reduce pain and promote healing.

How does shockwave therapy work?

The transducer is sending acoustic waves into targeted tissue. In other words, sound waves are being sent into the targeted area which are transmitted via the special transducers head. Depending on the desirable outcome and area to treat there are many treatment settings that the specialist can select ie. Bone, tendon, ligament or muscle.

During the process, your therapist will locate the sore area. Then, a therapist will apply some conductive gel onto the area, adjust the apparatus to the suitable setting and apply the transducers head directly onto the area where sound waves will be delivered.

What can shockwave therapy treat?

Shock wave therapy treats many common orthopaedic conditions. The list includes Achilles, knee, hamstring, elbow and shoulder tendinopathies, plantar fasciitis, lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) and rotator cuff tendonitis with and without calcification. In addition, the therapy can treat and help to alleviate symptoms of chronic musculoskeletal pain, femoral head necrosis, patellar knee jaw and osteoarthritis.

On the other hand, in non-orthopaedic setting, the treatment can also be applied to reduce cellulitis.

Is shockwave therapy painful?

Most of the time the shock wave therapy can be uncomfortable and painful at times. However, the settings of the treatment should be adjusted to the level that is tolerable for you, hence, communicate your experience to your therapist during your treatment.

How often I should use the shockwave therapy?

This very much depends on the condition treated. For example, if you have an Achilles tendinopathy which is 2 years old, it is likely that you will have to receive a treatment 2 times per week for few weeks. On the other hand, an acute lateral epicondylitis will need 2 – 4 treatments spread out within 4 or more weeks, that will probably be enough.

Benefits of shock wave therapy:

Main benefits of the shock wave therapy are: it relieves pain, enhances healing of the tissue and restores function. Shockwave therapy increases blood supply and the proliferation of tissue, that´s why you achieve the benefits. Proliferation simply means rapid reproduction of targeted cells, which may be bone, tendon, ligament or muscle.

Side effects of shock wave therapy:

After completing the treatment, the area treated might start feeling sore. The soreness might remain for couple of days and vast majority of the time is not debilitating.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us 3 mins away from Angel station in Islington. If you like this blog, please share! We are always happy to help.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6029898/#:~:text=Thus%2C%20the%20shock%20waves%20are,tendinopathy%20(3%2D5).

https://online.boneandjoint.org.uk/doi/pdf/10.1302/0301-620x.81b5.0810863

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