Pain Treatment with Shockwave Therapy
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is type of ultrasound that uses a series of energy acoustic waves to treat pain resulting from chronic illness or a lingering injury. These energy waves are applied to a patient’s injury through their skin, using a gel medium, in much the same way an ultrasound session can be used to obtain an image of a baby.
The History of Shockwave Therapy
The type of shockwave therapy that is used to relieve musculoskeletal pain is commonly referred to as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, or ESWT. ESWT came about in 1980, when it was used for the first time to destroy a kidney stone in a patient. Over time, medical studies were conducted whose results showed ESWT could be successfully used in combating chronic pain resulting from illness or injury.
How Does ESWT Work?
ESWT is a non-invasive procedure that uses energy acoustic waves to trigger the body’s own ability to heal. Using this type of therapy generally requires one session a week for three to five weeks. While the treatment is non-invasive, it can produce a short period of discomfort during the session itself, which is typically resolved after a few minutes.
What Can ESWT Help With?
Brickyard Physiotherapy utilizes the latest shockwave technologies with the most advanced radial shockwave device, the STORZ MASTERPULS ultra.
ESWT can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions, in particular, those involving areas where major connective tissue attaches to bone. Common sites that can be successfully treated are:
- Plantar Fasciitis, heel spurs & Achilles tendonitis
- Patellar tendonitis, jumper’s knee & shin pain
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow
- Rotator cuff tendonitis & calcification (Shoulder)
- Trochanteric bursitis (Hip)
- Trigger points in muscles
- Stress fractures/Shin Splints, non union’s (delayed bone healing)
- Morton’s Neuroma (Nerve)
- Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome
- Lumbar/Cervical Spine pain and muscular pain.
What is the Success Rate?
After only 2-3 sessions, over 80% of patients report a significant reduction in pain, including:
- 90% improvement for plantar fasciitis (Journal of Orthopedic Research, 2005)
- 91% improvement for calcific tendonitis (Journal of American Medical Association, 2003)
- 77% improvement for tennis elbow (Journal of Orthopedics, 2005)
Is Shockwave Therapy for me?
If the patient’s case fits the following criteria, ESWT may be applied to them:
- All other treatment types have been exhausted.
- An initial assessment has been done and the patient’s condition has been deemed appropriate for ESWT treatment.
- The patient has chronic injury that has persisted more than 3 months.
What are some of the benefits of ESWT?
There are a few benefits to having shockwave therapy:
- It has an excellent cost/effectiveness ratio.
- It is a non-invasive treatment choice for chronic pain.
- It requires no anesthesia or drugs.
- It has limited side effects.
When Should ESWT Not be Used?
There are a few ailments that will render a patient ineligible for ESWT. These include:
- Circulation disorders
- Nerve disorders
- Bone tumor
- Open wounds
- Use of blood-thinning medication