Shockwave Therapy is a treatment that has been used for decades to treat chronic tendon injuries and help heal soft tissue. It applies short but very intense energy waves directly to the affected area. It is non-invasive, does not involve the complications of surgery and can help significantly speed up healing time and reduce pain.
If you are considering shockwave therapy, you may have some questions about what is involved in the procedure. To help you understand more, here are 5 of the most frequently asked questions about shockwave therapy.
1. What is Shockwave Therapy?
A shockwave is a short duration, high energy sound wave that breaks the sound barrier and creates a shockwave. These shockwaves are applied from outside the body to the injured tissue or joints through intense pulses that help to stimulate the damaged cells to speed healing and reduce pain in an area that has stopped responding to treatment.
Shockwave Therapy was initially created to treat and blast apart kidney stones and is still an effective treatment for this condition.
2. How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
- Increases healing and circulation – The shockwave puts pressure on the cells and tissue to help increase circulation in the cells – this increases healing and can help the cells dissolve calcific deposits in the area. The shockwave also helps to break up these calcific deposits in damaged tissue.
- Shockwaves also help to jump-start osteoblasts and fibroblasts – cells that help in bone and tendon healing and growth.
- Shockwaves help to reduce pain by creating something called hyperstimulation anesthesia – it overwhelms the nerve endings so they can’t transmit pain signals, which reduces pain.
- Shockwaves also help recalibrate the local nerves for pain perception to avoid creaking joints, and this also reduces pain in the long term.
3. Does It Hurt?
This is often one of the first questions people have about shockwave therapy. The answer is that you may feel slight discomfort during the treatment, but this feeling is usually much less than the pain you are already feeling in your injured tissue and joints. It is important to remember that the discomfort felt is far outweighed by the benefits of the procedure.
Patients sometimes feel discomfort when the shock wave pulse is applied. It feels like a quick and repetitive hammering sensation. The treatment lasts only 5 minutes, and most patients can manage the discomfort. If it is too much, your therapist can lower the intensity levels of the procedure or discontinue treatment.
Some patients experience redness or slight soreness at the treatment location, but this typically goes away after a few hours. Also, shockwave therapy affects nerve endings, stimulating them, so they are unable to receive pain sensations, which reduces the pain felt.
4. How Many Shockwave Treatments Are Required?
Your doctor can help determine the number of treatments required for your condition. Often most people need 3 to 5 treatments that are administered 3 to 10 days apart. The way your body responds to the procedure and tolerates the discomfort will also determine the number and frequency of treatments.
Treatments consist of between 2,000 to 4,000 bursts administered to the affected area. Treatments usually last 5 to 20 minutes in length, and most people experience pain relief after the first treatment.
5. What Conditions Can Shockwave Treat?
Shockwave therapy helps treat chronic conditions – this includes conditions that have been present for six weeks or more, that have not responded to other conservative treatments used by Ortho Neuro Physiocare in Brampton.
Shockwave therapy is extremely helpful for treating conditions such as:
- tennis elbow
- rotator cuff issues
- plantar fasciitis
- jumper’s knee
- problems with scar tissue
- calcific tendinopathy of the shoulders and hips.
- carpal tunnel syndrome
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