Shockwave treatment is quickly becoming a popular method for treating pain, with sports medicine practitioners beginning to adopt it as common practice.
With that said, it’s still a new phenomenon and many still have questions about how it all works.
So what is shockwave therapy? What are its benefits? And most importantly, how long does it take for patients to see its effects?
That’s what we’re going to look at today. Read on to find out about common timetables for shockwave therapy and its benefits.
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a non-intrusive treatment that uses a series of low-energy acoustic waves and pulsations. You deliver these waves to an injury through a person’s skin with a gel medium applied in-between.
The idea of shockwave therapy comes from doctors using shockwaves to break down gallstones and kidney stones. Shockwave therapy has shown success over the years and is widely becoming accepted in the medical community.
The purpose of the therapy is to trigger a natural pain-relieving response from the body. It’s often used for lingering injuries and any pain that’s associated with it. Shockwave therapy is also used for erectile dysfunction.
Shockwave therapy is commonly used for issues regarding connective tissues like ligaments and tendons.
Those with tendon issues that don’t respond to traditional forms of treatment turn to shockwave therapy for an alternative. Common examples for these categories include:
- Tennis elbow
- Rotator cuff
- Jumper’s knee
- Calcific tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis
How Does it Work?
There are two types of shockwave therapy: high-energy and low-energy therapy.
Patients get low-energy treatments as a series of three or more sessions. They can be mildly painful, but many don’t experience any pain at all.
High-energy treatments only need single sessions. These are more intense and can cause some serious discomfort. Anesthesia is usually administered to dull the pain.
It’s believed that shockwave therapy induces microtrauma to the tissues that are causing pain. This initiates an automatic healing response from the body.
Your blood vessels are then formed and nutrients are delivered to any affected areas. The microtrauma is therefore used to stimulate a repair process and relieve any symptoms of pain.
Benefits of Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy increases blood flow and accelerates your healing. This results in a quicker relief from your pain. It also helps with chronic inflammation while stimulating collagen and connecting tissue.
Accidents happen to us unexpectedly every day, but dealing with the pain is complicated. Shockwave therapy alleviates some of that pain after you’ve been in an accident or sustained a workplace or home injury.
Athletes are using shockwave therapy to get short-term pain relief after a series of games or after a serious injury. We’ve already mentioned how effective it is for Achilles and other lower-body injuries.
Those leveraging shockwave therapy during their rehabilitation or when dealing with pain also avoid serious long-term issues. This means surgery might not be needed for otherwise serious injuries.
How Long Does It Take For Shockwave Therapy to Work?
There’s no clear timetable for when you feel the effects of shockwave therapy. As a manual treatment, there are those who feel the effects immediately while others take weeks to feel anything.
There are plenty of factors that affect this outcome. It could be the patient’s age or where they’re injured. It might have to do with their pain receptors as well as the amount of pain they’re experiencing.
Initial and Final Results
Patients often feel two different stages of shockwave therapy results.
The initial results feel like a numbing sensation around your treated area. This is a temporary effect, meaning the pain will be dulled. The issue itself probably won’t be fixed for a few more weeks.
The final result will be felt weeks afterward, with many feeling the best results after 8 to 12 weeks. Chronic pain won’t debilitate you after this time provided you received reliable treatments.
Why Does It Take So Long?
Regardless of whether you use low-intensity or high-intensity, shockwave treatments are designed to have a gradual effect. The soundwaves that are used for this treatment are working at a molecular level.
Shockwave treatment corrects how your body interprets your pain. This understandably takes a bit of time and recurring treatments to get right.
If your pain levels aren’t too high, it might take a few weeks for shockwave therapy to work. For those suffering from chronic pain, however, it might take a lot longer.
How Long Do Results Last?
Shockwave therapy is known to have long-lasting effects. The best therapists can keep your pain levels down for months at a time, even up to a year.
With that said, everyone has different reactions to hyperstimulation. This means that the effects of shockwave therapy might last longer for some and shorter for others.
Optimal Number of Treatments
How many shockwave treatments you need depends on your individual case.
If you’re using shockwave therapy for pain, you might schedule one or two appointments to get long-term results. Chances are, you’ll go in for a single shockwave therapy session a year. Those using shockwave therapy for ED might go in upwards of six times to see results.
The number of times you’ll go in for shockwave therapy might also depend on the intensity of your session. Lower-intensive sessions will definitely take more than one session. Higher-intensive sessions might just take a single session.
Leverage Shockwave Treatment Today
If you’re trying to avoid pain medications but don’t know how to manage your pain, a shockwave treatment might be worth your while. Use this guide to know how it works and how long the process takes.
Looking for reliable clinical and in-home shockwave therapy devices? Contact us today and we’ll get you started on your next solution!