Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that involves creating a series of low energy shocks via a wave pulsation that are directly applied to an injury. Shockwave therapy is used for lingering injury and pain. The purpose of the therapy is to trigger the body’s own natural healing response.
How does shockwave therapy work?
Shockwave therapy is used in the treatment of many musculoskeletal conditions, primarily those involving connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons and offers physiotherapists another tool for stubborn, chronic tendinopathy. These include: tennis elbow, achilles, rotator cuff, plantar fasciitis, jumpers knee, calcific tendinitis of the shoulder. These could be as a result of sport, overuse, or repetitive strain.
Shockwave therapy has shown to effectively treat the following conditions:
- Feet – heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis
- Elbow – tennis and golfers elbow
- Shoulder – calcific tendinosis of rotator cuff muscles
- Knee – patellar tendonitis
- Hip – bursitis
- Lower leg – shin splints
- Upper leg – Iliotibial band friction syndrome
- Back pain – lumbar and cervical spine regions and chronic muscular pain
What happens at my appointment
You will be assessed by the physiotherapist at your first visit to confirm that you are an appropriate candidate for shockwave therapy. The physio will ensure you are educated about your condition and what you can do in conjunction with treatment – activity modification, specific exercises, assessing any other contributing issues such as posture, tightness/weakness of other muscle groups etc.
How many treatments will I need? and is it painful?
Shockwave treatment is usually done once a week for 3-6 weeks, depending on results. The treatment itself can cause mild discomfort, but it only last 4-5 minutes, and the intensity can be adjusted to keep it comfortable.
After the treatment, you may experience temporary soreness, tenderness or swelling for a few days following the procedure, as the shockwaves stimulate an inflammatory response. But this is the body healing itself naturally. So, it’s important not to take any anti-inflammatory medication after treatment, which may slow down the results.
Upon completion of your treatment you can return to most regular activities almost immediately.
Are there any side effects?
Shockwave therapy should not be used if there is a circulation or nerve disorder, infection, bone tumor, or a metabolic bone condition. Shockwave therapy should also not be used if there are any open wounds or tumors or during pregnancy pregnant. People using blood-thinning medications or who have severe circulatory disorders may also not be eligible for treatment.