What is it Shockwave Therapy and how it works.
What is extracorporeal shockwave therapy?
Extracorporeal radial shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a series of high-energy percussions to the affected area. The shockwave is a physical sound wave “shock”, not an electric one.
How does it work?
1. Treatment produces an inflammatory response. The body responds by increasing metabolic activity around the site of pain. This stimulates and accelerates the healing process (promotes the remodeling of dysfunctional collagenous tissues, such as tendinopathies, trigger points, muscle strains, etc.).
2. Shockwaves break down scar tissue and/or calcification
3. Transmission of pain is diminished through neurologic mechanisms (nociception inhibition)
What are the benefits of Shockwave Treatment?
This therapy stimulates the body’s natural self-healing process. There is actually an immediate reduction of pain and improved range of motion. ESWT may also eliminate your need for surgery depending on the amount of instability present.
How long does the treatment last?
Approximately 2000 pulses are administered per treatment area (the duration of which is approximately 5 minutes). Some patients and/or conditions require more pulses and duration, depending on severity and chronicity (how long the condition or injury has existed).
How many treatments will I need?
Normally three to six treatments are necessary at twice-weekly intervals; there is a small possibility that 2 or more additional treatments may be necessary if your condition is very chronic and/or you have severely restricted joint range of motion (ie. Frozen shoulder). Should you not respond in this time, your case will be reviewed with the doctor to determine an appropriate referral. Success rates with ESWT are unparalleled (over 80-90% improvement).
Does the treatment hurt?
It is a short treatment (usually five to twenty minutes in duration) that may be uncomfortable at times. Most people can easily tolerate the procedure. However, if you cannot tolerate it, adjustments on the machine can decrease the pressure you feel.
Will it hurt after the treatment?
There may or may not be immediate pain, but some soreness or mild discomfort may be experienced 2-4 hours after the treatment. In some cases, it can last up to 48 hours and in very rare cases, the pain lasted up to 5 days. Some bruising and swelling can occur.
What should I do if I am in pain after the treatment?
The shockwave will trigger an inflammatory response, which is the body’s natural process of healing. For this reason, do not use anti-inflammatory medications. Do not use heat. The pain should subside within 24 hours. Use Tylenol if necessary, provided you have no trouble with this medication.
What if it feels good after the treatment?
Even if it feels good, we recommend decreased or modified activity for 48 hours following the treatment.
What is the success rate for this kind of treatment?
A successful treatment is considered as a patient having at least 75% reduction in pain within 3 months. Worldwide, success rates are around 80 to 90%.
What if it doesn’t work for me?
Although the short-term effects alone are exceptional, the long-term benefits of this treatment may take up to 3-4 months. If after this time there has not been any marked improvement, you should see your doctor for further treatment options.
Are there contraindications and/or precautions?
● Coagulation disorders, thrombosis, heart or circulatory patients
● Use of anticoagulants, especially Marcumar, Heparin, Coumadin
● Tumor diseases, carcinoma, cancer patients
● Pregnancy: using the machine over the abdomen
● Polyneuropathy in case of diabetes mellitus
● Using the machine over open growth plates
● Cortisone therapy within the last 6-12 weeks
Side effects include: (These side effects generally abate after 5-10 days).
● Swelling, reddening, haematomas
● Petechiae, bruising
● Skin lesions (especially after previous cortisone therapy)
Why am I asked to sign a consent form?
Pain can increase temporarily. Bruising and/or swelling are also possible. We want you to be informed of all aspects of this treatment. By signing a consent form, you acknowledge that you understand and accept the risks, benefits, and cost of extracorporeal shockwave therapy; and consent to having this therapy administered.