Medical advances improve healthcare, making it more personalized for each individual patient. With each of these advances come more precise and targeted treatments for man’s medical issues and diseases. 

Two such treatments are ultrasound therapy and shockwave therapy. Many people interchange the two, thinking they are the same thing. 

However, there are some major differences when it comes to shockwave vs. ultrasound therapy. The best one for you depends on your medical condition and the goal of your treatment plan.

The best thing to do is to work with your physician. This allows you to determine whether one or the other is a better option for your needs. Sometimes you might need both treatments. 

It’s always a good idea to understand what to expect when you are undergoing medical care. Use this guide to help you learn the difference between ultrasound and shockwave treatments.

Difference and Similarities Between Ultrasound Therapy and Shockwave Therapy

It’s important to understand the differences between these two methods of treatment. That’s so that you can choose the one that best suits your needs. 

Ultrasound technology makes use of a consistent pattern of waves, with a short amount of time between each. 

On the other hand, shockwave therapy makes use of a single pressure pulse, usually in an isolated location on your body. 

You may think of pregnancy when you think about an ultrasound. However, it’s also used as part of a physical therapy regimen.

In that way, shockwave therapy is similar to ultrasound treatments. That’s because it’s also often used as a method of physical therapy.

Your doctor can help you decide which method is better for your needs. In the meantime, let’s have a closer look at each one. 

What Is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy is an acoustic wave of energy with the goal of repairing and restoring tissues, bones, and tendons. 

It’s often used as a form of physical therapy, helping relieve pain and restore mobility. It’s also positively associated with cell growth and tissue repair, such as after an injury. 

Shockwave therapy devices are used to administer the treatment. They come in a wide range of sizes and intensity levels to meet your specific needs. 

You can buy a shockwave therapy device for home use. But if you’re not familiar with the treatment, it’s usually best to have it done by a professional. This ensures safe and effective results. 

Benefits of Shockwave Therapy

The benefits of shockwave therapy are backed by science and its effectiveness has been proven by many research studies.

One of the reasons why shockwave therapy works so well is because it promotes the formation of new blood vessels. As the acoustic waves are applied to the area, they create tiny tears in the tissues. 

It’s when this tissue heals that growth factor production increases. That results in new blood vessel formation, which promotes healthy nutrient flow through the blood. It also plays a role in optimal circulation. 

Shockwave therapy also helps slow and control chronic inflammation. This method works to increase the production of mast cells, which aid in a healthy inflammatory response. It also helps promote recovery after an injury. 

Boosting collagen production is another benefit of shockwave therapy. Collagen is a vital substance for the repair and general health of your ligaments, bones, muscles, and tissues. 

Acoustic waves also work to break up calcification in the lymphatic system. This build-up of calcium can occur after an injury or trauma to the body. 

Finally, shockwave therapy is an effective way to treat and control pain. This is because it helps break up waste products in the muscles that lead to tightness and pain. 

By activating these trigger points, many patients experience immediate and ongoing relief from pain after an injury or due to certain health conditions. 

What Can Shockwave Therapy Treat?

The many uses of shockwave therapy have a positive impact on several conditions. Though it’s also an ideal choice for recovery after an injury, such as those sustained while playing sports. 

Several specific conditions respond well to shockwave therapy. That includes golfer’s elbow, tendonitis, tennis elbow, shin splints, rotator cuff syndrome, medial tibial stress syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. 

What Is Ultrasound Therapy?

One of the goals of ultrasound therapy is to find and treat conditions causing pain and muscles spasms. It’s also used to treat tissue injuries. 

It’s not quite the same as the methods used to check fetal development during pregnancy. However, it’s a branch of the same technology, utilizing imaging to diagnose and treat certain issues. 

The treatment works by sending an electric current through the ultrasound wand. The waves go through the skin, reaching parts of the body beneath, including tissue and muscle. 

It’s a precise way to target certain tissues, without affecting those in the surrounding areas. 

There are two kinds of ultrasound therapy. The thermal version utilizes heat and vibration to treat pain and musculoskeletal issues. 

Mechanical ultrasound causes pressure in the tissue fluids, creating bubbles. When those bubbles break, they create shockwaves, creating an effect much like that of traditional shockwave therapy. 

Benefits of Ultrasound Therapy

Much like shockwave therapy, one of the primary benefits of ultrasound technology is that it can be very precise and target very specific parts of the body. 

Another perk to this treatment is that it’s generally painless. There’s no need for any numbing agents or painkillers and you can remain awake throughout. 

It’s a common way to treat pain associated with many conditions. It can also treat pain that arises due to an injury. This is because it reduces muscle spasms and eases tightness in the muscles. 

Ultrasound therapy is also a viable way to treat musculoskeletal pain, which is caused by tissue damage of some variety. It can also ease the pain associated with repetitive and prolonged movements. 

The waves used during this method also promote healthy blood flow. This eases swelling and inflammation, which reduces pain and promotes recovery. 

The vibrations in thermal ultrasound therapy cause microtears in the tissues. This can help break down scar tissue and promote a full range of motion. 

When tissue fluids are targeted, the lymphatic system becomes much more effective. That means a boost in your white blood cell production, which in turn boosts your immunity.

What Can Ultrasound Therapy Treat?

Ultrasound technology is versatile and the two methods open up a wide range of conditions that it can treat. One is to restore mobility and reduce pain after an injury. 

That could be an injury sustained during a car accident, after a fracture, or dislocated bone. It’s ideal for treating symptoms after a fall, as well as pain due to sprains, jerking injuries, or direct blows to some part of the body. 

Ultrasound can also be used to treat chronic pain and inflammation. This may be due to certain health problems, as well as occurring after an injury. 

Other conditions that ultrasound is used to treat include certain types of cancer, skin conditions, uterine fibroids, and kidney stones. 

Your doctor can help you determine if ultrasound therapy is a viable choice for your health issues. It’s best done by a professional so be sure you find a reputable clinic or doctor’s office for the treatment. 

Choosing Which Is Best

Again, your doctor is a great resource for choosing whether ultrasound or shockwave therapy is best for you. This will likely be done after an evaluation of your health to determine the cause of your symptoms. 

Factors that determine which one works best for you include your general health status, the nature of your injury or disease, your preferences, and your body type. 

Your doctor will take into consideration what health problems you have, if any, and how either method of therapy may affect those. You’ll also want to discuss your goals with treatment, which can influence which option is better. 

In some cases, patients have tried one or the other without much success. Trying the alternative may provide the relief you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to give them both a try, with a doctor’s approval. 

Some people may achieve the most success by combining the two methods of treatment, depending on what injury or health condition they need treated. 

Getting Started

Chances are that both ultrasound therapy and shockwave therapy excite you. That’s especially true when you realize how effective they can be for your health. 

The first step is to speak to your doctor and get a referral, if necessary. This allows you to decide what specific symptoms need to be treated and which method is a better option. 

A series of treatments usually provides consistent and long-lasting results. To get the most out of it, be sure you adhere to the schedule put together by your treatment team. In the meantime, learning more about shockwave therapy products and how the process works can prepare you for treatment. Let us help – we have the devices and advice you need the most.