Managing Pain with Shockwave Therapy
Updated: Aug 22
When you’re dealing with chronic pain, it can feel like you’re at the end of your rope. You’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to work. The pain relief medications you’ve been taking have barely made a dent, and the side effects are starting to take their toll. Surgery seems like a last resort, but you’re not sure you’re ready to take that step. It’s important to remember that you have options. There are new treatments and technologies that can help you manage your pain and get your life back on track. Talk to your doctor about all of your options, and don’t give up hope.
Shockwave therapy is an innovative therapy that can target specific pain in the bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It’s a non-invasive treatment that can be delivered on an out patient basis and gives significant or total relief of pain in the vast majority of patients.
What is shockwave therapy? Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-energy sound waves to target painful areas of the body. The therapy is also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) or Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT). While the therapy itself isn’t new, its use in the treatment of painful joints and muscles is relatively recent. Shockwave therapy was originally developed in the late 1990s to help urologists treat kidney stones non-invasively. However, the therapy has since been successfully used to help treat many musculoskeletal conditions.
Shockwave therapy works by delivering high-energy sound waves to the target area, which helps to break up The sound waves also stimulate the body's natural healing process, which can help to reduce pain and promote tissue regeneration. The result is a fast, effective treatment for a variety of painful conditions.
Multiple scientific papers have found that it can successfully treat conditions such as heel pain caused by plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendinopathy. There are no known side effects to having shockwave therapy. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE, who give guidance, advice and information to healthcare professionals, approves the use of shockwave therapy for musculoskeletal pain relief in clinic and hospital settings in the U.S.A.
What conditions is shockwave therapy used for? Shockwave therapy can help people with sports or overuse injuries. It helps to treat patients who have painful soft tissue (muscle, tendons and ligaments), joint and bone conditions. It can also benefit those undergoing physiotherapy for a variety of ailments and complaints. Shockwave therapy is used most commonly to help treat the following conditions:
Achilles tendinopathy (pain in the tendon that connects the back of the foot to the calf muscle)
Plantar fasciitis (pain in the underside of the foot)
Tennis elbow (pain on the outer side of the elbow)
Golfers elbow (pain on the inner side of the elbow)
Patellofemoral syndrome (runner’s knee)
Iliotibial band Syndrome, or ITBS (pain that stretches from the outside of the hip down the outer thigh to the outside of the knee caused by running and cycling)
Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
Bony heel spurs
How does shockwave therapy work?
Shockwave therapy is a treatment that uses low energy sound waves to help relieve pain in muscle, joints, and tendons. The sound waves are radial in shape and behavior, which allows them to easily penetrate the skin. Once through the skin, the sound waves radiate as a shockwave throughout the affected area. This helps to target the areas that are injured or damaged, and provides relief from pain. Shockwave therapy is a safe and effective treatment for many types of pain, and can be used on both acute and chronic injuries. If you are suffering from pain, talk to your doctor about whether shockwave therapy may be right for you.
When you go for shockwave treatment, your therapist will use a hand held device connected to a machine that turns compressed air into sound waves. They’ll apply some light pressure and move the device over the area that requires treatment. Ultrasound gel is applied to the skin beforehand to help transmit the shockwaves through the skin.
Shockwave therapy is a popular treatment for a variety of issues, including chronic pain, cellulite, and scar tissue.
The therapy works by sending sound waves into the tissue, which stimulates blood flow and causes localized inflammation. In the days following treatment, the body naturally heals the inflammation, which in turn stimulates the repair and regeneration of cells. This can help to reduce pain associated with damaged or injured tissues. Additionally, shockwave therapy can help to break down scar tissue. Scar tissue often causes immobility in surrounding tissues but breaking it down using sound waves can improve mobility and reduce discomfort.