Australian Health Professionals
Shockwave Therapy is an effective, non-surgical treatment for painful disorders.
Shockwave therapies are also referred to as Acoustic Wave Therapy or ExtraCorporeal Shockwave Therapy or EPSWTS. Shockwave therapy uses sound waves as a stimulus for the body to heal damaged tissues and release contracted, stiffened and reduced muscles tissues. Shockwave therapy is widely used in professional sports teams, in horses and in other fields e.g. wounds or cardiovascular therapy. Shockwave Therapies are non-invasive therapies and activate cellular regeneration of damaged tissue by restoring normal tissue and healing it.
Shockwave emits acoustic waves which carry high energy to painful spots and damaged tissue with subacute, subchronic, and chronic conditions. The energy carried by the acoustic waves promote regeneration and reparative processes of the bones, tendons, and other soft tissues.
The wave is created through kinetic energy, generated by compressed air. It is then transferred to the transmitter at the end of the applicator and further into the tissue.
Shockwave therapy has been described as a strong, deep, and rhythmic vibration; some patients say it feels like small pulses against the skin.
No, shockwave therapy is not a painful procedure. For the length of the treatment (10-15 minutes), you may experience mild tenderness as the shockwave is being applied, similar to when someone is pressing against a bruise or sore spot.
For the first session, your physiotherapist will begin by locating and assessing the area requiring treatment. Upon this, gel will be applied to the treatment area to allow for better transmission of the sound waves. Finally, using the hand-held shock wave device, your physio will apply it to the painful area, and treatment will commence.
The treatment typically lasts for 5-15 minutes. If you become uncomfortable or sore throughout the treatment session, let your physiotherapist know so they can reduce the intensity.
The number of treatment sessions required for your condition, will depend on the severity of the injury, and how your tissue responds to the therapy. Shockwave therapy is a cumulative treatment, and multiple sessions may be required in order to yield maximal results. However, clinical studies show that most patients experience some form of pain relief after the first treatment, and a significant decrease in pain following the second or third.
Radial shock wave therapy works best when incorporated with a broader rehabilitation plan. Strengthening exercises and other tendon rehab treatments can be used in conjunction with shockwave treatments for long term results.
Most people experience a numbing sensation or immediate pain reduction following shockwave therapy treatment. Others may feel tingling or aching, and occasionally there may be some minor bruising.