Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, also known as Radial Pressure Wave Therapy, can significantly reduce or eliminate chronic pain. Studies indicate that it is extremely effective at reversing damage to tissue allowing the affected area to regenerate and heal itself.
How does it work?
Shockwave therapy eliminates pain right at the point of origin. The point of injury is subjected to high energy acoustic pulses (or shock waves). These shock waves are sound waves, not electric shocks. There is no electric shock involved in the treatment. The body reacts with a strong healing response with raised local metabolism, increase capillary growth and tissue regeneration.1 Calcified tissue will start to be broken-up and re-absorbed by the body.
What does Shockwave Therapy treat?
- Elbow pain: tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, tendonitis, repetitive strain
- Shoulder pain: frozen shoulder, tendonitis such as supraspinatus or biceps
- Knee pain: osteoarthritis, torn meniscus, patellar tendinopathy, shin splints
- Ankle & foot pain: plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, chronic instability of the ankle/foot
- Hip pain: trochanteric bursitis
- Myofascial pain: trigger points
- Chronic ligament tears/sprains
- Tendonitis of the hand/thumb
What should I expect?
You will experience a sensation of mild discomfort while the pulses help to break down scar tissue. the process is very tolerable and patients adjust to it as time progresses. Local redness will be produced and in some rare cases bruising. These will go away. There may be some increased soreness in the next 24 hours after the treatment but this is a healing reaction and should subside by the following day. The entire healing process can take up to 10 to 12 weeks but the result is rejuvenated tissues that are not easily injured as before.
How many treatments?
Not that many. Most conditions improve or resolve in 3-6 treatments usually done on a weekly basis. Treatments are even more effective when combined with Prolotherapy injections or PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections.
1. Cristina d’Agostino M et al. Shock wave as biological therapeutic tool: From mechanical stimulation to recovery and healing, through mechanotransduction. Int J Surg. 2015 Dec;24(Pt B):147-53.
2. Damian M et al. Trigger point treatment with radial shock waves in musicians with nonspecific shoulder-neck pain: data from a special physio outpatient clinic for musicians. Med Probl Perform Art. 2011 Dec;26(4):211-7.
3. Beyazal MS et al. Comparison of the effectiveness of local corticosteroid injection and extracorporeal shock wave therapy in patients with lateral epicondylitis. J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Dec;27(12):3755-8.
4. Cacchio A et al. Effectiveness of Radial Shock-Wave Therapy for Calcific Tendinitis of the Shoulder: Single-Blind, Randomized Clinical Study. Phys Ther. 2006 May;86(5):672-82.
5. Rompe JD et al. Eccentric Loading Versus Eccentric Loading Plus Shock-Wave Treatment for Midportion Achilles Tendinopathy. A Randomized Controlled Trial. Am J Sports Med. 2009 Mar;37(3):463-70.
6. Furia JP et al. A single application of low-energy radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy is effective for the management of chronic patellar tendinopathy. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2013 Feb;21(2):346-50.
7. Gerdesmeyer L et al. Radial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Is Safe and Effective in the Treatment of Chronic Recalcitrant Plantar Fasciitis. Results of a Confirmatory Randomized Placebo-Controlled Multicenter Study. Am J Sports Med. 2008 Nov;36(11):2100-9.
More references available at clinicalstudies@DJOglobal.com