How Shockwave Therapy Can Help
INFO FOR PATIENTS
THE MANY BENEFITS OF SHOCKWAVE THERAPY INCLUDE:
Fewer potential complications
Fast treatment: 20 minutes per session
Significant clinical benefit: often seen 6 to 8 weeks after treatment
THE STORY BEHIND SHOCKWAVE THERAPY
Shockwave therapy was first created back in the 1970's and was exclusively used as an effective treatment technique for kidney stones. Using this method hugely reduced the need for a painful, invasive surgery, and the same goes for musculoskeletal conditions we see today.
WHAT ARE SHOCKWAVES?
In a nutshell, Shockwaves are high-energy, audible sound waves. Shockwaves have been used in medicine since 1980, among other conditions, including the disintegration of kidney stones. In rehabilitation therapy, shockwaves are channeled to the area to accelerate healing.
Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) involves passing short, intense sound waves into damaged tissues, which increases blood flow, has an analgesic effect and stimulates the repair and regeneration process. The treatment puts the cells into repair mode and allows your body to restart its own accelerated healing process.
IS IT CLINICALLY PROVEN?
Absolutely. Shockwave Therapy is clinically proven and well approved by the top orthopaedic hospitals, and used by well established professional sports bodies including:
English Institute of Sport
Welsh Rugby Union
Premier League Football Clubs
It has both NICE guidance and FDA approval for a large number of indications. Shockwave Therapy enforced by qualified therapists is a largely risk-free and side-effect-free process of treating musculoskeletal conditions and chronic pain.
FOCUSED SHOCKWAVE VS RADIAL SHOCKWAVE THERAPY
Shockwaves can be either focused or radial.
Focused shockwaves are sound waves that are gathered (or focused) into deeper regions of the body, approximately 5cm. It is at this point that they reach their maximum energy. Focused shockwaves are used in the treatment of deep trigger points or areas, whereas radial shockwaves transmit outwards and do not reach as deep into the target area.
Radial shockwaves are performed on greater surface areas of application or larger regions of the body. Your therapist carrying out the procedure will decide which method is best for you, depending on your condition. Some therapists will advise a combination of both for maximum effect.
For more information, visit our Radial Vs Focus Shockwave Therapy Guide.
WHAT CAN BE TREATED?
Shockwave Therapy has become widely popular and accessible as it is clinically proven to provide fast and effective results, along with the added bonus of no medication and it's non-invasive nature.
Many injuries and disorders have been effectively treated with the use of shockwave therapy, including, but not limited to:
Myofascial Pain Syndromes
Musculoskeletal Conditions (you can find specific facts and stats here.)
WHAT ARE THE EXPERT OPINIONS?
Scientists fully recognise the valuable effects of shockwave treatments and how they trigger direct action adequately. A variety of problems have been effectively dealt with, but what is the science behind the shockwave?
One of the central messenger substances that is released is known as Substance P, which is a growth factor and pain moderator. The discharge of such a substance produces an analgesic effect whilst amplifying the blood vessels, inspiring blood circulation and contributing to the design of new bone tissue. In essence, we know that when treating an area of pain, shockwaves directly speeds up the repair process.
TRIGGERS CELLULAR DEFENSES
By committing to the release of free radicals, shockwave treatments help to enhance our endogenous cellular defense mechanisms to protect us from disease. The bodies signal and modulator modules play a crucial role in the activation of these cells.
THE COX II ENZYME
By suppressing inflammatory mediators such as Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX II), shockwaves create an anti-inflammatory reaction, which decreases any inflammatory process. In short, it is an important stimulant during the healing process.
OVERSTIMULATES NERVE FIBRES
Studies carried out by Scientists have also shown that shockwaves act in another unique way. By hyper stimulating the nerve fibres, this blocks any escalation in pain stimulation and therefore strengthens the analgesic effect (also known as Gate Control Theory).