Shockwave Therapy is a versatile and effective treatment for a range of tendon, muscle and joint conditions. Shockwave Therapy is administered externally (extracorporeally) by a portable device and has been used for many years as an alternative to invasive surgeries or traditional rehabilitation. Injuries that fail to respond to conventional treatments often benefit from shockwave therapy as it targets musculoskeletal pathology, facilitating natural healing of the body.
Shockwave Therapy is usually administered on an outpatient basis, with the patient relaxing comfortably during the procedure. The device delivers acoustic shock waves that penetrate the skin and stimulate natural tissue repair mechanisms. Calcified and damaged tissue breaks down as a response to the high-pressure waves, allowing natural healing with little discomfort.
Injuries that benefit from shockwave therapy
Sports medicine clinics and general practitioners only resort to surgery as a last resort. Shockwave Therapy is an important adjunct to alternatives, especially when treating painful tendons or joints suffered by active people. Shockwave Therapy can be used soon after the occurrence of injury to stimulate immediate and ongoing repair, and is also useful for healing older injuries where calcification or damage of tissue is evident. Injuries that benefit by shockwave therapy include:
- Achilles tendinitis
- Shoulder tendinitis
- Tennis elbow
- Heel spurs
- Degenerative disorders
- Knee pain
- Hip pain
The onset of tendinitis and related disorders is often fairly sudden and quite surprising, as the condition sometimes seems to appear without the occurrence of an associated trauma. For example, damage to an achilles tendon that is experienced as a slight discomfort while actively participating in sport may result in intense pain and inability to walk properly once the tendon has cooled down. The condition can last for months or even years if left untreated.
How does shockwave therapy work?
Extracorporeal shock waves work on several levels. Pain is initially reduced by hyperstimulation anaesthesia that diminishes nerve pain signals relayed to the brain. The therapy helps by depleting the amount of pain mediators emanating from nerve endings, resulting in a reduction of pain experienced. It also assists by fighting inflammation.
Apart from diminishing pain, shockwave therapy also helps with the physical repair and regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues. Studies have shown that shockwave therapy stimulates repair of tendons and bones, while also improving blood supply to the affected area.
Shockwave Therapy treatment
As the affected area is usually painful to the touch, your doctor can easily locate the troublesome tendon or joint area requiring treatment. The area is then marked and ultrasound gel applied. Shock waves are delivered through a device held lightly on the skin. The treatment usually lasts for around 10 minutes, and only causes minor discomfort.
The procedure is safe and can be performed for several weeks in succession for optimum results. Due to the nature of the treatment, natural healing of the body will continue for several months, and many patients also experience immediate relief of major symptoms after shockwave therapy.
The shockwave energy, although targeted in one area, expands wave-like within the body to heal surrounding areas. The microtrauma associated with shockwave therapy promotes various processes that agitate and heal. Research has also disclosed that shockwave therapy assists the body in re-learning reflex patterns that assist with permanent healing.
Shockwave therapy has no side effects and patients are able to head home immediately after the procedure. Pain relief medication may be prescribed to deal with ongoing pain during recovery.
Dedicated sports medicine experts can quickly evaluate the injury and its severity, while also providing the prompt treatment required to offer the best hope for a complete recovery.