What is shockwave and why it may be a good option for you?
Have you or someone that you know ever been injured, or undergoing physio rehab for weeks or months but the pain still hasn’t improved? You’re frustrated, believing that you have exhausted all your options and that you will be left to live with the pain? Help may be at hand!
Bit of History:
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) was first introduced into clinical practice back in 1980 as a treatment for non-invasive lithotripsy, a procedure used to break up stones inside the urinary tract or bile duct without any incision. With latest studies showing that ESWT can help improve bone fracture healing & provide some pain relief by accelerating new bone formation, although evidence is still limited.
However, plenty of positive orthopaedic research was done on using ESWT to treat upper & lower limb extremity tendinopathies and soft tissue conditions.
At West Wickham Chiropractic Clinic, we utilise Radial Shockwave technology to ease your discomfort. Several benefits of shockwave treatment include:
- Quick pain relief
- Improved mobility
- Quick recovery time with minimal side effects
How does it work?
A continuous supply of compressed air accelerates a projectile that strikes a fixed applicator at a very high speed (up to 90km/h), converting kinetic energy into a shockwave.
These high-energy acoustic shockwaves cause mechanical disruption of the tissue and cells, causing ‘micro-trauma’ which stimulates the body’s natural healing response, increasing blood flow to the area and promoting the regeneration of new tissue in the body to accelerate the repair process. It also works to desensitise nerve endings which will often give instant pain relief.
Shockwave therapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including common musculoskeletal disorders such as:
- Plantar Fasciitis (Heel pain)
- Calcific tendonitis / Shoulder impingement / Frozen Shoulder
- Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (Gluteal Tendinopathy)
- Achilles Tendinopathy
- Patellar or Hamstrings Tendinopathy / Knee Osteoarthritis
- Golfer’s & Tennis elbow
WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS IN A SHOCKWAVE SESSION?
First Step: Initial Consultation
During the consultation, our clinician will take a comprehensive medical history which will inquire in detail about the reason for your visit and your general health condition. From there, a physical examination will follow involving chiropractic, neurological and orthopaedic testing to determine the cause of your problems. A Musculoskeletal Ultrasound scan of the painful area might be recommended if the clinician deemed it necessary before carrying out the treatment. A report of findings with the best treatment options for you will be discussed, whether it be shockwave therapy, chiropractic care, or referral to the GP or alternative professional.
If the patient is a candidate for Shockwave Therapy, details of the treatment will be explained including all the benefits and risks.
Common minor side effects include:
- Pain during and after treatment (persisting/worsening pain in rare cases)
- Skin redness, bruising, swelling, altered sensation
- Tendon rupture (very rare and normally associated with recent steroid injection therapy)
Shockwave Therapy is unsuitable in the following circumstances:
- If you are pregnant
- If you have a blood clotting disorder including (thrombosis)
- If you are on anti-coagulant or anti-platelet medications
- If you have received a Steroid injection within 4 weeks or had a joint replacement
- If you have any known malignancy
- If you have an infection or skin lesion at the affected site
- Under 18 years old (unless it is a treatment for Osgood Schlatter’s Disease)
Second Step: Preparation
We advise the patient to wear clothing that is comfortable and can easily expose the affected area. Another option is to change into the treatment gown that we provide. You will be asked to position yourself according to the area getting treated, including sitting up or lying down. Contact gel is used on the area before administering the ESWT. Treatment is non-invasive and does not require any anaesthesia.
Third Step: Let’s start Shocking!
Treatment usually lasts for 3-10 minutes. Most patients do experience some pain or discomfort during the procedure. You will be asked how much pain you are experiencing during the treatment, and we will attempt to adjust the treatment dosage according to your tolerance. We will ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout the treatment.
Fourth Step: Recovery process & Rehab
After the treatment, our clinician will guide you through the Do’s and Don’t outside of the clinic. A comprehensive rehabilitation program will be created for you to optimize the healing effect of treatment. You may experience a reduced level of pain, or no pain at all, immediately following the ESWT treatment, but pain may occur a few hours later. Many patients will experience an improvement in symptoms almost immediately; however, others take several weeks to respond.
How many sessions of shockwave treatment would you need?
According to the latest clinical research, it is advised to have at least 3-5 shockwave sessions, with each spaced 1 week apart for optimal results. Although certain recalcitrant conditions might require up to 8 treatments.
You can stop treatment at any time. However, we do recommend that you complete the planned treatment course, as some effects are temporary and require the full course to have a long-term impact.