Shockwave Therapy: What You Need To Know
By: Julia Towers, Physiotherapist
If you’ve ever been to the clinic, you’ve probably heard our Shockwave machine hammering away! So, what is that noisy thing anyway?
Shockwave Therapy is a non-invasive treatment that delivers high energy acoustic waves into tissues to promote healing and kickstart the reparative process of tendons and other soft tissues.
There is some very good research that suggests that Shockwave Therapy has the following benefits: stimulating the formation of new blood vessels, reversing chronic inflammation, stimulating collagen production, breaking up unwanted calcium build-up, releasing trigger points in muscles, and reducing pain. The biggest take-home for Shockwave Therapy is that it wakes up the body’s natural healing process.
Now that you know what Shockwave Therapy is, let’s go through some common conditions that it is used to treat.
Shockwave treatment is a great tool for those who have had a lasting injury due to overuse or repetitive strain. Some examples include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Heel spurs
- Tennis elbow
- Jumper’s knee
- Shin splints
- Chronic tendinitis
- Hip pain
Simply put, Shockwave Therapy helps to treat those stubborn injuries!
Another common question that we get asked is: does Shockwave Therapy treatment hurt?
As a treating Physiotherapist, I have to be honest with you – there may be some mild discomfort during the application to your injured area. However, your Physiotherapist will work with you to find settings which are appropriate and tolerable for you.
Shockwave treatments usually take about 5-10 minutes and most patients are able to tolerate the intensity for this short period of time.
Our patients also want to know: how many treatments will I need?
Research tells us that for most injuries, 3-6 treatments are sufficient for providing symptom relief. These treatments are typically spaced about a week apart.
Lastly: are there any reasons or cases where Shockwave Therapy could not be used?
We must also consider the reasons why we wouldn’t use this modality. Examples are active infection, tumors, pregnancy, or taking anticoagulants. These are all things that would come out during an initial assessment.
Shockwave is best suited as part of a larger program of care. Here at Stride, your Physiotherapist will determine if you are a good candidate and deliver the modality in conjunction with many other aspects of your treatment such as manual therapy, specific exercises, activity modification, and education.
Overall, Shockwave Therapy is a non-invasive treatment with great evidence supporting its role in providing pain relief and restoring mobility. It may even reduce the need for addictive pain killers.
If you would like further information on anything mentioned in this blog, please feel free to ask one of the team at your next appointment!