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Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) or Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT). It is an innovative, non-invasive treatment, that can target specific pain in the bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, and gives significant or total relief of pain in the vast majority of patients. There are no known side effects to having shockwave therapy.

Shockwave therapy is beneficial for individuals with painful soft tissue (muscle, tendons and ligaments), joint and bone conditions. The therapy can help those with sports or overuse injuries and can benefit those undergoing physiotherapy for a range of complaints.

Most commonly, shockwave therapy is used to help treat the following conditions:

  • Achilles tendinopathy (pain in the tendon that connects the back of the foot to the calf muscle)

  • Plantar fasciitis (pain in the underside of the foot)

  • Tennis elbow (pain on the outer side of the elbow)

  • Golfers elbow (pain on the inner side of the elbow)

  • Patellofemoral syndrome (runner’s knee)

  • Iliotibial band Syndrome, or ITBS (pain that stretches from the outside of the hip down the outer thigh to the outside of the knee caused by running and cycling)

  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)

  • Bony heel spurs

Shockwave therapy is delivered directly onto the skin that covers the affected area. This kind of pain relief therapy uses low energy sound, or acoustic, waves, rather than electrical waves.

These sound waves are ‘radial’ in shape and behaviour. They can easily penetrate the skin, and once through, they radiate as a shockwave throughout the affected muscle, joint or tendon. Shockwave therapy is therefore a targeted type of therapy, only treating the areas that are injured or damaged.

The sound waves stimulate blood flow to the area, and also causes a small amount of localised inflammation. In the days after treatment, the body will work to naturally heal this inflammation, and in doing so, stimulates the repair and regeneration of cells. Damaged or injured tissues then begin to repair and cause the associated pain to reduce.

If you have scar tissue in the area, that’s contributing to your pain, shockwave therapy will also help to break down this thick, fibrous tissue. Scar tissue causes immobility in the surrounding tissues as unlike normal tissues, it isn’t very elastic. Breaking it down using sound waves helps to improve mobility and discomfort.

This type of treatment isn’t suitable if:

  • You have a blood clotting disorder and/or take blood thinning or anticoagulant medications such as aspirin (75mg on a daily basis) or warfarin

  • You have a nerve disorder You’re pregnant

  • You have or have had any kind of bone cancer

  • You have an infection in the area that needs treatment

  • You have metal pins or plates in the area that needs treatment You’ve received a steroid injection for the same problem in the last 12 weeks

  • You’ve taken any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen for any reason in the last two weeks

Most individuals require 3 - 6 sessions of shockwave therapy, each a week apart, before significant pain relief is noticed. Your therapist will be able to discuss your particular case and expectations with you. After your course of treatment is completed, your therapist will usually arrange to see you again (Free follow up session) in a month to see how you’re getting on.

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