About 50 million adults in the United States are dealing with some sort of chronic pain. Apart from limiting your mobility, chronic pain can make you irritable and prevent you from doing the things you love.
Unfortunately, traditional pain management treatments aren’t an effective long-term solution for pain. Pain medication can lead to addictions whereas surgery comes with risk factors.
Luckily, you can opt for the non-invasive shockwave therapy treatment. It not only offers pain relief but also addresses soft tissue disorders, bone defects, and even erectile dysfunction. But does shockwave therapy really work?
Read the shockwave therapy guide below and learn all you need to know about the treatment.
Shockwave Therapy Explained: What Is Shockwave Therapy?
Also known as extracorporeal shockwave therapy, shockwave therapy is an FDA-approved treatment that involves the delivery of shock waves to your injured tissue to reduce pain and stimulate healing.
Using a shockwave therapy machine, the system transmits energy to the applicator that generates shockwaves. Your physiotherapist can adjust the frequency and pressure of those waves, depending on your condition.
Whether you suffer from pain resulting from an illness or have lingering pain due to an injury, this therapy triggers your body’s natural healing response to offer relief. Shockwave therapy’s success rate ranges from 60% to 80% in plantar fasciitis, epicondylitis, cuff tendinitis, and more.
Most patients report successful results like a decrease in chronic pain and an increase in mobility after treatment.
Conditions That Shockwave Therapy Can Treat
From mild to chronic pain, shockwave therapy machines can offer pain relief and improve your quality of life. Here are some conditions shockwave therapy can treat:
- Face- TMJ or jaw pain
- Shoulder – calcific tendonitis of rotator cuff muscles
- Elbow – golfers and tennis elbow
- Back pain – in the lumbar and cervical spine regions
- Hip – bursitis
- Knee – patellar tendonitis
- Upper leg – Iliotibial band friction syndrome
- Lower leg – shin splints
- Feet – plantar fasciitis, heels spurs, and Achilles tendonitis
Talk to your physician about your condition and see whether it can be treated with shockwave therapy.
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
A shockwave therapy machine is needed to apply this treatment in your practice. During treatment, a shockwave is created by electromagnets generating a signal through the water.
The signal is focused through a lens, directing all of the energy to a single focal point. Your physiotherapist will then place the shockwave therapy device on the affected area so it can direct all this energy to your damaged tissue.
When a shockwave enters your tissue, it may break up and replicate the absorption of kinetic energy to the specific body structures—bone, tendon, ligaments, and more.
There are two levels of transmission during shockwave therapy treatments —low energy and high energy. Low energy shockwave therapy has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that facilitate tissue regeneration. It’s more common and cost-effective than high-energy shockwave therapy that leads to immediate healing.
Benefits of Shockwave Therapy Treatment
If you suffer from chronic pain, there are many different treatments you can undergo for pain relief. But here are reasons why you should consider shockwave therapy treatment.
Non-Invasive and Non-Surgical
Unlike surgery, you don’t need incisions or cuts to get pain relief. What’s more, you don’t need to use anesthetic treatment.
As a manual treatment, acoustic waves penetrate your body’s skin through the shockwave therapy machine via a gel medium. This reduces your chances of dealing with risky side effects.
Since it’s a non-invasive treatment, you don’t need downtime. You can return to your normal day-to-day activities with a few restrictions like avoiding strenuous work. You can also be allowed to drive yourself home after treatment.
Treats Multiple Issues
In addition to treating conditions that cause chronic pain, shockwave therapy is capable of treating other health concerns, including erectile dysfunction. It can also help reduce the effects of cellulite.
Stimulates Blood Flow
Poor blood circulation can cause pain. During shockwave therapy, auditory waves create tiny tears in tissues to help create new blood vessels.
This stimulates increased blood flow to the affected area, enhancing your body’s natural regenerative abilities to offer fast pain relief.
Reverses Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation may be a result of injuries or diseases. If left unchecked, it can lead to chronic pain. Shockwave therapy treatment increases mast cell activity, helping lessen your inflammation.
Dissolves Calcium Build-Up
Experiencing trauma in your tendons can often lead to calcium build-up. When calcium builds up in your body, it may limit your mobility and range of motion. What’s more, this soft tissue calcification can cause medical problems like coronary artery disease.
Shockwave therapy can help break up existing soft tissue calcification to restore your body’s normal function. It can also boost the elasticity of the treated tissue.
Relaxes Trigger Points
Your trigger points tend to be sources of pent-up tension in your body, creating muscle stiffness around your spine. These trigger points can cause a lot of pain in your back, neck, and shoulders. Shockwave therapy treatment acts as a targeted massage to release tension in the trigger points, offering pain relief.
Interrupts Pain Neurotransmitter
When you’re in pain, your body usually relays pain messages to the central nervous system through a neurotransmitter known as Substance P.
Shockwave therapy can interrupt the communication of your body’s main pain neurotransmitter, stopping it from sending pain messages to nerve receptors in the brain. This facilitates more pain relief.
Offers In-Home Treatments
You aren’t limited to going to your physiotherapist for shockwave therapy treatment. You can purchase a shockwave therapy in-home device and use it in the privacy of your home. Before you use the in-home device, you should first discuss it with your doctor.
What Can You Expect During Shockwave Therapy Treatment?
Due to its benefits, shockwave therapy is becoming an increasingly popular physiotherapy treatment. If you suffer from chronic pain and need treatment, here’s how the process goes.
Step 1: Initial Consultation and Diagnosis
Before you begin treatment, you should attend a comprehensive consultation appointment to discuss your symptoms and to assess if shockwave therapy is the right treatment for you. This consultation may involve checking your medical history, an examination of the area that needs treatment, expectations for the treatment.
Step 2: Locate the Treatment Area
Whether you’re suffering from plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, or erectile dysfunction, your physiotherapist will locate the area before proceeding with the shockwave therapy treatment.
It ensures the affected area gets the attention it needs. It also helps locate any open sores in the treatment area. If you have an open wound, your physiotherapist may not proceed with treatment as it may cause harm.
Step 3: Apply Gel
After finding the treatment area, your physiotherapist will apply a sufficient amount of gel on the surface of your skin. It helps the sound waves travel more easily through the body tissues.
Step 4: Initiate Shockwave Therapy
Your physiotherapist will slightly push the shockwave therapy machine against the affected area and presses the start button. Once the device starts working, the electrical charge creates an energy wave that focuses on your treatment area. These acoustic waves create a force on your tissues, inducing healing.
Depending on your condition, the doctor may use high-energy or low-energy shockwaves therapy. If high-energy shockwave therapy is used, you may need anesthesia since the procedure can be painful.
Step 5: Recovery
Although shockwave therapy requires little to no downtime, you need to avoid strenuous activities like running for about 24 to 72 hours. But your physiotherapist can assign specific exercises such as stretching to keep you fit during recovery.
How Many Shockwave Therapy Treatments Do You Need?
Shockwave therapy requires a minimum of three treatment sessions for three weeks. But some patients can report feeling fine after one or two treatments. Sometimes the number of treatments can depend on the severity of your chronic pain.
Each session can take around 10 to 15 minutes on average. After undergoing shockwave therapy, you may need further treatment for months or even years.
Who Isn’t a Suitable Candidate for Shockwave Therapy?
While shockwave therapy is an effective treatment for several health conditions, it isn’t the right treatment for everyone. You should not undergo this treatment if:
- You are pregnant
- You have a blood clotting disorder
- You are taking oral anticoagulants
- You got a steroid injection within 6 weeks
- You have a pacemaker fitted
- You have tumors or open wounds present at the treatment area
Ensure you discuss your conditions with your physicians first before any sort of therapy.
Is Shockwave Therapy Safe?
For the most part, shockwave therapy is safe. Although you may experience some side effects, they’re negligible compared to other pain treatments like surgery or pain medication.
The side effects include mild swelling, numbness, or bruising in the treatment area. But you’re likely to recover from these side effects fast.
Start Your Shockwave Therapy Treatment Today
Are you suffering from chronic pain? Need effective pain relief? Looking for ‘shockwave therapy near me?’At Oceanus America, we supply certified, innovative shockwave therapy machines to help you get fast pain relief so you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. Contact us if you need the latest shockwave therapy devices.