What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave is a modality, similar to ultrasound, that causes a mechanical wave in tissue and can influence muscle tension, adhesions and scar tissue, and can promote healing through ‘resetting’ the stages of healing to the inflammatory stage and enhancing neovascularization, which is the formation of new blood vessels, a key component to bringing nutrients to a healing area of the body.
How does Shockwave work?
Most modern Shockwave machines, including the one at Royal City Physio, have a compressor that generates pressure, which is passed down a tube to a handpiece. Inside the handpiece, a series of valves control the pressure on a tube which contains a small ‘projectile’. Sudden, high pressure applied to the projectile causes it to accelerate down the tube and to hit a metal cylinder called an emitter. This emitter vibrates and through ultrasound gel and transmits a high amplitude, short-duration pulse to the skin. This causes a mechanical wave whose energy is then transmitted from skin to fascia to muscle, and possibly bone, and is spread out over a wider area the deeper the mechanical wave goes. It’s this mechanical wave in the tissue that promotes healing and affects muscle tension and adhesed tissue.
Do I need Shockwave treatment?
Shockwave is most effective at encouraging tendon healing. If you have tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, or calcific tendonitis, shockwave may help. Studies show that shockwave can be 91% effective in improving calcific tendinitis, 90% effective for plantar fasciitis, and 76% effective for an Achilles tendinopathy.
What will I feel while getting Shockwave treatment?
When Shockwave is applied over muscle or tendon, the patient typically feels a rapid tapping along with the coolness of the ultrasound gel and the pressure of the emitter on the skin. In some conditions, like calcific tendonitis, the shockwave emitter is very close to bone and each rapid tap can also sting slightly for the brief duration of the tap. After treatment, patients typically feel looser and more mobile and the stinging sensation ceases with the end of treatment.
Why should I try Shockwave?
Shockwave is an important modality because it has demonstrated effectiveness that far exceeds most other modalities, like ultrasound. Shockwave is non-invasive and can positively influence healing and resolve conditions that may otherwise require surgery. Shockwave has been proven to be most effective in chronic conditions that have lingered for months or even years.