What is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical tool used in orthopaedic injuries to alleviate acute and chronic pain conditions caused by tendons, muscles, ligaments, and fascia.
How does it work?
Shockwave is a sound wave that carries high energy to painful musculoskeletal tissues with subacute, subchronic and chronic conditions. The energy promotes regeneration and reparative processes of the bones, tendons and other soft tissues.
The kinetic energy of the sound waves, created by compressed air, is transferred to the transmitter at the end of the applicator and further into the tissue. This has been shown to have a variety of positive medical effects in the tissues.
- New Blood Vessel Formation (Angiogenesis) – Nutrient blood flow is necessary to start and maintain the repair processes of damaged tissue. The application of acoustic waves creates capillary microruptures in tendon and bone.
- Reversal of Chronic Inflammation – Mast cells are one of the key components of the inflammatory process. Their activity may be increased by using pervasive acoustic waves.
- Stimulation of Collagen Production – Cutting down the time for acute muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries and kickstarting the stalled healing process in chronically injured tissues. The production of a sufficient amount of collagen is a necessary precondition for the repair processes of the damaged myoskeletal and ligamentous structures. Shockwave therapy accelerates procollagen synthesis.
- Dissolves Calcified Fibroblasts – Chronic tendon injuries create micro-tears which can cause reparative cells (fibroblasts) to attract calcium which tend to clump together and can become painful. Shockwave is the #1 non-surgical treatment for calcific tendinosis because acoustic waves break up existing calcifications.
- Disperses Pain Signalling Chemical “Substance P” – Substance P is a neurotransmitter that mediates pain information through the C-fibers. This neuropeptide is generally associated with intense, persistent and chronic pain. Shockwave causes it to be resorbed into the lymphatic system and excreted.
- Release of Trigger Points – an instantaneous effect you can feel. Trigger points that are deep, near bony insertions, or would take 3 hours to release with massage, can be eliminated in a single 15-minute session. Trigger points are the principal cause of pain in the back, neck, shoulder and limbs. Delivered acoustic energy unblocks the calcium pump and thus reverses the metabolic crisis in the myofilaments and releases the trigger points.
Clinical Conditions Best Treated with Shockwave
- Heel Spur and Plantar Fasciitis
- Painful Shoulder conditions
- Lateral Hip Pain
- Tennis Elbow
- Jumper’s Knee (Patellar Tendinopathy)
- Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome
- Chronic Tendinopathies
- Insertional Pain (Enthesiopathies)