What is shockwave therapy?
Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a treatment for soft tissue injuries. Whether your injury, pain or chronic condition has been caused by the wear and tear of daily activities, exercise, pregnancy, ageing or accidents, musculoskeletal disorders and soft tissue injuries can be debilitating. Many people think that surgery is the only answer but are worried about such a risky step.
Shockwaves are high-energy, audible soundwaves which are transmitted to the affected area to accelerate healing by increasing blood flow, putting cells into repair mode. Shockwave has an analgesic effect and stimulates repair and regeneration. Shockwaves break down injured tissue and calcifications. It can treat conditions in the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, achilles tendons, forearms, shins, back and feet.
Shockwaves can be either focused or radial. Focused shockwaves offer a smaller focal point with a deeper treatment depth, precisely targeting specific areas. Radial treats a wider more superficial surface area.
Is shockwave therapy safe?
Yes. It has NICE guidance for a large number of indications. Shockwave therapy performed by qualified therapists is largely risk-free.
Is shockwave therapy painful?
Focused shockwave is not painful, it is more of a sensation. With radial shockwave you may feel discomfort to begin with. However the treatment is delivered with a low amount of energy at first which is increased as you get used to it. The treatment stimulates and effectively supports the body’s self-healing mechanisms and creates an analgesic effect. Many patients report immediate pain relief following shockwave therapy. If you experience pain after treatment you many use ordinary non-prescription painkillers. Do not use anti-inflammatory medication or apply ice to the treated area as both may interfere with the body’s self-healing process.
Which conditions can be treated with shockwave therapy?
Conditions treated include but are not limited to:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
- Patellar tTendonitis (jumper’s knee)
- Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
- Epicondylitis (tennis or golfers elbow)
- Periarticular shoulder pain
- Tendonosis calcarea (calcific tendonitits)
- Greater Tronchanteric Pain Syndrome (Hip)
- Back pain
How many sessions are needed and how successful is it?
On average 3 sessions are required. You will need a full assessment to determine the quantity. Treatments last between 10-15 minutes.
Success of shockwave therapy depends on the condition. Statistics show over 90 percent of patients experience a reduction in their pain. The overall success rates for all indications ranges between 60-80% depending on the conditions treated.
What are the advantages of shockwave therapy?
Shockwave therapy is recommended for patients who have already had previous conservative therapies that have provided little or no clinical benefit. Recent evidence has shown that Shockwave therapy can also be used for acute soft tissue disorders as well as chronic conditions, where you have tried other conventional therapies or not.
- No anaesthesia
- Fewer complications
- Significant clinical benefit often seen 6-8 weeks after treatment
- Fast treatment times