Shockwave therapy is high pressured acoustic shockwaves that interact with the body tissues. It is like an aeroplane causing a sonic boom or thunder from a lightning strike – both of which will cause the china to shake in the cupboard.
Shockwave therapy was originally developed to treat kidney stones and during these treatments it was noticed that there was a benefit to the musculoskeletal problems in the area that was being treated. It has been developed further to specifically treat musculoskeletal injuries since 1990, but only recently has the advances in technology enabled the machines to be affordable and portable enough for smaller medical clinics.
What is Shockwave Therapy?
The effect of the shockwave is neovascularisation (meaning the formation of new blood flow), reversal of chronic inflammation, stimulation of collagen and the dissolution of calcium build up. Medical research has shown shockwave therapy to be particularly beneficial in the treatment of insertional tendinopathies by treating the actual pathology, as opposed to just treating the symptoms. This has allowed us, as physiotherapists to treat notoriously difficult conditions. Examples of injuries that would benefit from shockwave therapy are:
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Tennis elbow
- Golfers elbow
- Jumpers knee (patella tendinitis)
- Shoulder (rotator cuff) tendinopathies/bursitis
- Plantarfasciitis (heel pain)
- Gluteal teninopathies (hip or trochanteric bursitis)
- Hamstring tendinitis
Shockwave Therapy at Miami Physiotherapy
Treatment involves a thorough assessment by one of our physiotherapists to accurately diagnose your injury followed by the application of the shockwave therapy as part of your treatment. The shockwave treatment itself takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes. It is mildly uncomfortable, which resolves soon after the treatment. Your treatment will also involve traditional physiotherapy approaches, such as massage, exercise prescription, taping, ultrasound and education. Medical research recommends 3 to 8 treatments of shockwave, spaced at 5-7 days between treatments. Some patients report improvements in their symptoms soon after treatment with excellent results 6 to 8 weeks after. Between shockwave treatments the physiotherapist may also recommend alternative physiotherapy treatments.