While it might sound intimidating, shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment used in a variety of health fields, such as physiotherapy, sports medicine, urology and orthopaedics.
Shockwave therapy is an ideal treatment for musculoskeletal injuries, reliving acute and chronic pain as well as assisting to speed up your recovery.
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, involves the application of high-pressured waves to an area of injury.
These shockwaves are generated by a handheld device, which is pressed onto the injured area. The device then sends shockwaves into the musculoskeletal tissues.
The effect of the shockwave is neovascularisation, also commonly known as the formation of new blood flow, as well as the reversal of chronic inflammation, stimulation of collagen and the dissolution of calcium build up.
This therapy kick starts the body’s natural healing response in tissue that may not have responded to medication, rest or other therapies.
What Issues Can It Help With?
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
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
- Gluteal tendinopathies (hip or trochanteric bursitis)
- Hamstring tendinitis
- Myofascial Trigger Points (muscle knots)
- Shin splints
- Ankle sprains
- Knee ligament sprains (MCL, LCL)
What Can I Expect During a Shockwave Therapy Appointment?
Before we begin any shockwave therapy treatment with you, our physiotherapists will undertake a thorough assessment of your areas of concern to diagnose your injury/ies.
If we decide shockwave treatment is a suitable option for you, we will prepare you for shockwave treatment.
The shockwave treatment itself takes approximately five to 10 minutes. It is mildly uncomfortable, which resolves soon after the treatment.
As part of your shockwave treatment, we will also use traditional physiotherapy approaches, such as massage, joint mobilisation, exercise prescription, taping and education.
How Many Sessions Do I Need?
We recommend four to eight treatments of shockwave therapy spaced at five to seven days apart.
Some patients report improvements in their symptoms soon after treatment; with excellent results experienced six to eight weeks post treatment.
Between shockwave treatments, your physiotherapist may also recommend alternative physiotherapy treatments to promote further pain reduction and healing.
What Are the Benefits of This Method?
The major benefit of shockwave therapy is that it can assist patients who may have previously been unresponsive to other treatments, such as patients with tendinopathy - also known as tendonitis, or arthritis. It promotes and stimulates the healing process so you can get better faster.
As mentioned earlier, shockwave therapy is known to relieve your pain in a variety of ways, including:
- New blood vessel formation, which helps to repair damaged tissue;
- Trigger point release;
- Reduced inflammation;
- Stimulate collagen production; and
- Break up calcified fibroblasts.
Where Did Shockwave Therapy Originate?
Shockwave therapy was originally developed to treat kidney stones; it was during these treatments that specialists noticed a benefit to the musculoskeletal problems in the treatment area.
Since 1990, there has been an increased focus on using shockwave therapy to specifically treat musculoskeletal injuries, with recent technological advances making these machines smaller and more affordable for use in smaller clinics.
Treat Your Tendinopathy with Miami Physio
If you are suffering with tendinopathy or other acute or chronic pain, shockwave therapy may be the treatment for you.
At Miami Physio, our physiotherapists are highly skilled in providing shockwave therapy, as well as a number of other traditional physiotherapy approaches.
Contact Miami Physio to book a consultation with one of our physiotherapists and get on top of your injury today.