What is shockwave therapy & how can it help me?

In 1980 shockwaves were used in medicine for the first time with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy to break up kidney stones. Fast forward a few years, and now shock waves are being used for a number of different conditions in health care, including soft tissue injuries. 

How does this therapy work?

Shock waves are actually acoustic or sound waves. The therapy delivers a well-controlled mechanical insult to connective tissue which disrupts the tissue matrix. The theory purports that cross friction techniques break down adhesions and restimulate the inflammatory response therefore allowing for tissue healing to occur.

Compressed air is pushed through a tube to move a projectile in the hand piece to strike the tip of the applicator. The projector hitting the transmitter (applicator tip) then creates an acoustic wave. The result is the emission of an acoustic wave pattern that then propogates through its point of contact on the tissue. This energy is delivered to a therapeutic depth of 6cm.

What's going on in the body in response this treatment?

This stimulates a range of physiologic effects - increased cell wall permeability, stimulation of circulation, release of substance P, neurotransmitter are released that help with pain modulation, vasodilation and modulation of skeletal muscle cells. These effects help with muscle pain and activating connective tissue.

What conditions can be treated?

Calcifici tendonitis (shoulder pain), epicondylitis (tennis & golfers elbow), trochanteric tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, tibial stress syndrome, achilles tedonitis, plantar fascitis, delayed bone fracture healding and myofascial pain syndromes.

What does treatment feels like?

Treatment will be uncomfortable yet tolerable, about a 6/10 on the pain scale. Using exercise as an example, stimulus or loading to the tissue such as lifting weights will create a disruption in the normal state of the muscles in order to create an adaptation. This overload is needed in order to ellicit the appropriate results.

A typical shockwave treatment will be an average of 2000 shocks per session which takes 3-4 minutes. The treatment applicator is placed directly over the area of concern and ultrasound gel is used as a medium to conduct the soundwaves.

For more information on this exciting and innovative therapy, visit our services page or give us a call.



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