Although the name of this type of treatment may sound a bit scary, it is actually a highly effective treatment used in the treatment of a wide range of soft tissue injuries. As the name suggests, a shockwave is directed into the body, which initiates a healing response around the site of injury. The treatment can be temporarily uncomfortable, depending on where the applicator is place onto the body.
A shockwave can be defined as a pressure disturbance that disseminates rapidly through a medium. When used for therapeutic purposes, the shockwave travels as an acoustic (compression) wave, into the tissues of the body and is dissipated as energy. The energy or mechanical force that is transmitted from the Shockwave, produces a number of physiological and therapeutic effects on the underlying tissues of the body. These include the following:
- An increase in blood flow and the production of new blood vessels (angiogenesis)
- A rise in cellular activity and the activation of an inflammatory healing response
- Pain killing (analgesic effects)
- The breakdown of calcific deposits in tissues, such as tendons and muscles
- Mechanical stimulation and breakdown of scar tissue
- Stimulation of bone repair
There is a growing body of scientific research to support the clinical effectiveness of shockwave therapy in the treatment of a range of painful musculoskeletal conditions including
- Achilles tendinitis
- Plantar fasciitis (Heel pain)
- Patella tendinopathy (Knee pain)
- Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis elbow)
- Biceps and supraspinatus tendinopathy (Shouder pain)
- Trochanteric bursitis (Hip pain)
- Stress fractures
It is particularly useful in ‘shifting’ stubborn, chronic problems, such as heel pain.Generally a chronic case of plantar fasciitus (heel pain), requires approximately 5 sessions of shockwave treatment to bring about lasting resolution of the problem.
If you are suffering from any of the conditions that have been mentioned, then this treatment method may well be worth trying, to allow you to return to everyday activities free of pain.