What is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy?
ESWT is a safe, effective and non- surgical technology utilizing high-energy sound waves, called shockwaves, to treat tendons, bone and periosteum (the pain sensitive membrane on bone). The word extracorporeal means “outside the body” and shockwave means “pressure waves”.
The healing effects of ESWT include bone and tendon regeneration, increased blood vessel growth and a chemically induced decrease in pain and sensitivity of the pain receptors.
ESWT is used in physical therapy for pain reduction, increase in metabolism at cellular level, revascularisation, and recovering normal muscle tone following various disorders. The use of ESWT was demonstrated in patients with frozen shoulders, tennis elbow, calcaneal spur, plantar fasciitis etc.
How does ESWT work?
The kinetic energy of the projectile sound wave is transferred to the transmitter at the end of the applicator, where it travels through the tissues to the site of injury. The shockwave then causes a cavitation effect, a bit like the ripple effect when you throw a stone in a pond, this is when the shockwave promotes regeneration and reparative processes of the bones, tendons and other soft tissues. The cells at the site of injury undergo microtrauma which promotes the formation of new blood vessels and nerve cells and also inflammatory processes that are associated with the healing process.
Is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy Safe?
Very safe! ESWT has no long-term effects or damages.
Is the treatment painful?
You will definitely feel the treatment. Some people may experience pain but this is tolerable. Following the treatment, you may experience redness, bruising, swelling and numbness to the area. But this will improve within a few days and these are all normal reactions to the treatment.
How many sessions will I need?
The research backed protocols outline that most conditions will require 6-10 sessions of shockwave therapy. Additional sessions may be required if the condition is very long standing.
Are there any side effects to be aware of?
You need to be aware that there are some potential side effects of Shockwave. You may experience:
- Pain & discomfort - This can occur during or after treatment & usually subsides within 1-2 days.
- Transient skin reddening and/or bruising at the treatment site.
- Transient minor skin irritation or damage at the treatment site.
- Temporary numbness in the area.
These are all normal reactions that indicate your natural healing process has been stimulated.
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, Trapezitis
- 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
Some of the benefits of shockwave therapy treatment:
- Shockwave therapy has excellent cost/effectiveness ratio
- Non-invasive solution for chronic pain in your shoulder, back, heel, knee or elbow
- No anaesthesia required, no drugs
- No side effects