Chronic pain is a serious issue in the United States, and approximately one in five adults struggle with it on a consistent basis. Do you deal with chronic joint or muscle pain? Have you ever thought about using shockwave therapy to find relief? It doesn’t matter if you’ve scheduled an appointment for shockwave therapy or are thinking about doing so. Either way, chances are you’re wondering what to expect during your first treatment. If this is the case for you, keep reading. Outlined below are some steps you can take to prepare for your first shockwave therapy session (and set yourself up for success after it’s completed).
What Happens During a Shockwave Treatment?
The name sounds a bit intimidating. In reality, though, shockwave therapy is far less scary than some other treatments people undergo when they’re dealing with chronic pain.
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive procedure that helps to speed up the natural healing processes that occur in the body. It involves using a special tool that sends high-energy sound waves through the skin toward the tissues that have been damaged or in pain.
Shockwave technology does not cause electrical shocks. Instead, it uses soundwaves to speed up metabolic processes and improve circulation. This, in turn, helps to break down scar tissue and speed up the healing process.
Shockwave technology can also provide pain relief by reducing the number and intensity of pain signals being sent to the brain. It’s used as a treatment modality for a variety of conditions, including the following:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Shoulder tendinitis
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Hamstring tendinopathy
- Patellar tendinopathy
- Shin splints
If you deal with any of these issues, shockwave therapy might be a useful tool for you to consider using. It’s especially helpful when it’s combined with other modalities, such as stretching and strengthening exercises to improve the function of the affected tissues.
It’s important to note, too, that it usually takes several rounds of shockwave therapy to see significant results. One appointment alone likely will not be sufficient to fix all of your issues and improve your symptoms.
How to Prepare for a Shockwave Therapy Session
Okay, you’re a little more intrigued (and, hopefully, less intimidated) by the idea of shockwave therapy at this point. What should you do to prepare for your first session, though? How can you set yourself up to see the best results from these therapy protocols?
The following are some of the most effective strategies you can implement to get ready for your appointment:
Find Out if It’s Right for You
First, make sure you’re an ideal candidate for shockwave therapy. If you experience chronic pain or any of the conditions mentioned above, it can likely help. However, if any of the following apply, you’ll be better of utilizing other modalities:
- You are pregnant
- You take antiplatelet or anticoagulant medication
- You have problems with blood clotting
- You’ve been diagnosed with bone cancer
- You have an implanted cardiac pacemaker
- You have had a steroid injection in the last three months
- You have had a previous tendon rupture
If any of these are true for you, shockwave therapy could end up doing more harm than good. Talk to your doctor before scheduling your first appointment, and they can let you know if it’s in your best interest to choose something else.
Avoid Pain Relief Products
Before attending a shockwave treatment session, it’s best to avoid using pain-relieving drugs.
Ideally, you’ll stop the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin two weeks before the date of your first treatment. You should also avoid them as your treatment is ongoing and for six weeks after your last treatment has been completed.
If you continue using these drugs before and during treatment, you might be more prone to bleeding, bruising, and other side effects.
Continue with Your Program
Remember, shockwave therapy works best when it’s part of a larger treatment plan. If you have a stretching and strengthening program created by a physical therapist, be sure to keep up with it in addition to receiving shockwave therapy.
If you only rely on this modality and don’t do any additional work, there’s a good chance your results will not be as significant. They also might not last as long as they would otherwise.
Dress comfortably on the day of your appointment. Wear loose-fitting clothing that provides easy access to the tissues being treated. For example, if you’re receiving shockwave therapy for your knee, wear shorts or loose-fitting sweatpants, rather than tight jeans or leggings.
What to Expect After Your Appointment
Most people who are getting ready to try shockwave therapy also want to know what they should expect after their treatment is over.
In general, the after-effects of this therapy are minimal. You might notice some soreness or discomfort following treatment, though, and you may have redness or some bruising at the treatment site.
Most of the time, these side effects will go away within a couple of days. If they don’t, reach out to your doctor to let them know what’s going on, as prolonged symptoms could be a sign of ligament or tendon damage.
You can resume regular activity after your treatment. You don’t need to worry about taking time off of work or staying in bed for several days. However, you should take care to avoid high-impact and stressful activity for 48 hours following treatment.
Get Ready for a Shockwave Therapy Session Today
Now that you know more about what happens during a shockwave therapy session and how to get ready for one, are you feeling a little more prepared? If you keep this information in mind, you’ll feel calmer when the day of your appointment arrives, and you’ll be able to set yourself up for a successful medical treatment.
Did you know that you can also experience the benefits of shockwave therapy from the comfort of your own home? If this appeals to you more than an in-person appointment, check out our in-home shockwave therapy products today.