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What is Shockwave Therapy? Explanation and Benefits

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What is Shockwave Therapy? Explanation and Benefits

Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), is a non-invasive medical treatment that utilizes shockwaves to promote healing and reduce pain in certain musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. The term “shockwave” refers to high-energy sound waves generated outside the body and then transmitted through the skin to the affected area.

The procedure involves a specialized device that delivers these shockwaves to the targeted tissue. The waves create microtrauma within the tissues, stimulating the body’s natural healing response. This process encourages increased blood flow, cell regeneration, and the release of substances that promote tissue repair.

Shockwave therapy has been used to treat various conditions, including:

Plantar fasciitis: A condition characterized by inflammation of the tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes, causing foot pain.

Tendinitis: Inflammation or irritation of a tendon, often affecting the shoulder, elbow, or knee.

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis): Pain and inflammation on the outer side of the elbow.

Calcific shoulder tendinopathy: The formation of calcium deposits in the shoulder tendons, leading to pain and limited movement.

Achilles tendinopathy: Pain and swelling in the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.

Bursitis: Inflammation of a bursa (small fluid-filled sac) typically found near joints.

The number of sessions required varies depending on the specific condition and its severity. Typically, shockwave therapy is performed on an outpatient basis, and each session may last about 15 to 20 minutes.

It is essential to note that while shockwave therapy is generally considered safe and non-invasive, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders or pregnancy, should avoid this treatment. Additionally, it’s crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if shockwave therapy is appropriate for your specific condition.

If this is your first time hearing of modern shockwave therapy it probably sounds stressful and even painful, but the reality couldn’t be more different. Contemporary shockwave procedures are a non-invasive (and pain-free!) method utilised by professional physiotherapy clinics to boost recovery.

Read on to discover why shockwave therapy is so effective, and how it can help injuries from chronic tendinopathy to bone fractures.

Shockwave Therapy Explained

The effective results for a wide range of physical ailments have established shockwave treatment as an important healing component of multiple medical and health arenas, from sports medicine to orthopaedics.

Known as extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), the procedure involves the delivery of shockwaves to injured tissue in a non-invasive manner, boosting healing and reducing pain.

An Introduction to Shockwave Therapy (And It’s Benefits)

Similar to other forms of physiotherapy, shockwave treatments work to boost the body’s natural ability to heal and increase its response time. The wide-ranging shockwave therapy benefits include muscle regeneration and repair, improved blood flow, and increased cellular metabolization.

Those suffering from chronic pain, including professional athletes, can benefit from this safe and transformative therapy that can improve injuries not responding to medication or alternative forms of treatment.

How Shockwave Therapy Works

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy sends high-pressure radial waves to the injured area typically via a handheld device pressed onto the body location in question. These high-energy shockwaves are received by the musculoskeletal tissues where new blood flow, known as neovascularization, occurs. This increases muscle repair by stimulating collagen, dissolving calcium build-up, and reversing chronic inflammation.

What Shockwave Therapy Can Help With

There are many forms of injuries and chronic pain that can be improved by shockwave therapy. The safe, non-invasive treatment is capable of treating otherwise difficult physical ailments with no injections or downtime needed, particular tendinopathies.

All Tendinopathies

Tendinopathies occur with tendon overuse, where the breakdown of collagen fibres and the build-up of calcium deposits result from excessive jumping or running. As one of the main shockwave benefits is the breakdown of calcium deposits and collagen stimulation, it’s the ideal low-impact therapy for tendon pain. All tendinopathies include:

  • Rotator cuff (shoulder)
  • Tennis/golfers elbow
  • Lateral epicondyle
  • Medial epicondyle
  • Hamstring tendinitis
  • Gluteal tendinopathies (greater trochanter or hip)
  • Distal quadricep
  • Myofascial trigger points (muscle knots)
  • Patellar tendon (knee)
  • Peroneal
  • Achilles
  • Plantar fascia (heel)

Bone Healing

Non-invasive shockwave treatments are ideal for treating bone injuries by boosting healing and new bone production through cell osteoblasts stimulation, especially nonunions and slow-healing fractures including:

  • Shin splints
  • Osteoarthritis

Acute Ligament Injuries

Ligament injuries are helped by the reduction in tissue inflammation produced by shockwave therapy. This improves the healing process and speeds up the improvement of ligament issues such as:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Knee ligament sprains (MCL, LCL)

Accessing Shockwave Therapy

Miami Physio is a respected provider of professional physiotherapy and remedial massage therapy treatments, designed to holistically improve the health of each client with a safe, customised treatment plan. If shockwave therapy benefits are something that interest you, we can help.

Book an appointment today at Miami Physio Lakelands or Falcon clinics, or speak to a friendly team member now with any queries about how shockwave therapy treatments can help you.

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