What is Shockwave therapy?

Written by Aaron Hill

November 19, 2021

If you suffer from the effects of pain associated with prolonged, repetitive movements such as playing tennis, golf, basketball, or running and you have soft tissue damage or nerve damage resulting from it this therapy may be the perfect solution for you. It’s called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) or Shockwave therapy for short. In this article we’ll discuss the effectiveness, how it works and the uses that extend well beyond that of treating musculoskeletal disorders.

A Shocking new therapy!

Shockwave therapy is an acoustic wave that carries high energy pulses to the muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, or other supporting tissue of the body. It’s used as a treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Sports medicine practitioners use shock wave therapy to reduce pain and promote healing. In fact, the Mayo Clinic has found ESWT to be beneficial in treating chronic, recalcitrant tendinopathy throughout the body.

“Our clinical experience and patient outcomes to date indicate that when performed by experienced practitioners, ESWT is a solid addition to the array of tools we have to offer athletes, and it provides another pathway to optimal recovery that is appealing to athletes and others who wish to remain active,” – Dr. Finnoff of the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/physical-medicine-rehabilitation/news/sports-medicine-practitioners-embrace-benefits-of-extracorporeal-shock-wave-therapy/mac-20454275)

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) was first introduced into clinical practice back in 1980. However, the study of Shockwave therapy can be traced as far back as 1966. In 1971 leading physicians investigated the idea of using shockwave therapy on kidney stones by disintegrating them without direct contact to the stone. The investigations proved successful as there was minimal side effects while the energy passed through the muscles, fat, and connective tissue. Since then, it’s uses have expanded to treat a variety of musculoskeletal disorders and as a method of stimulating bone growth.

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy being performed on a patients knee

Is Shaockwave therapy FDA Approved?

The FDA has approved Shockwave therapy for treatment. One of the most recent approvals is for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. Diabetes can cause blood vessel and nerve damage in the feet which often must be treated with amputation. Diabetes is the leading cause of lower limb amputations. Patients treated with Shockwave therapy experience a 44% wound closure rate versus non-treated patients. Improving the quality of life for those who experience severe pain and helps to prevent lower limb amputations. Adverse effects are minimal and include local bruising and numbness, migraines, nausea, fainting, wound infection, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, and fever.

What are some of the benefits of Shockwave therapy?

Increased circulation, increased healing, alleviation of pain, reversal of chronic inflammation, stimulation of collagen production, as well as new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) have all been attributed to benefit from Shockwave treatments. Shockwave therapy has been used to treat a variety of chronic conditions, particularly those affecting medium to large sized tendons. Conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendinopathy, Retrocalcaneal Bursitis, Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, Jumper’s Knee, and other conditions that affect the tendons, as well as those which are created by chronic stress or fractures.

Image depicted angiogenesis or new blood vessel formation.

If you suffer from hip pain, heel spur or foot pain, or anything related to prolonged repetitive activities, Shockwave therapy can prove to be very beneficial for you.

Will Shockwave Therapy help me?

Shockwave therapy can help you especially if you’ve tried any number of different treatments in the past with poor results. 80% of patients who have been treated prior to Shockwave say the therapy has eliminated their problem. And some studies have shown success rates as high as 91% for treating their problems. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3342893/)

Image depicting the uses of shockwave therapy on the body.

What is the treatment like?

Most patients experience a slight discomfort in the area being treated during the therapy. However, since the treatment only lasts about 5 minutes, most patients are able to withstand the pain, especially if they’ve been experiencing pain in that area for some time. The intensity of the device can also be adjusted during the treatment for those who are more sensitive to the therapy.

Patients generally require between 3 and 5 treatment sessions though most begin experiencing relief after the first treatment. The treatments are staggered 3-10 days apart depending on the patient’s response and the effect on the tissue in the area. You may experience some soreness in the area afterwards, but nothing too limiting. And patients are asked not to engage in any physical activity for 48 hours after treatment to allow for the greatest efficacy. So, it may be best to book your treatments on a Friday, so you’ll be fresh on Monday morning.

Can Shockwave therapy help with Erectile Dysfunction?

If you are one of the over 30 million men in America who are faced with the dilemma of poor erections or have difficulty maintaining an erection, then Shockwave therapy may be right for you. There is a growing body of evidence that illustrates that Shockwave therapy has been attributed to new blood vessel formation (angiogenesis). This formation can help strengthen and produce stronger erections and some men have experienced greater length and girth after the procedure. The sensation has also been heightened which produces greater orgasms and increased sexual satisfaction.

 

Image depicting a shockwave device being applied to the body.

 

How do I book an appointment?

You can easily make an appointment by calling (912) 964-CARE or going online to our website: https://www.satsurgentcare.com/scheduling/

There are several options for treatment and we are available Monday through Friday 8:30AM to 6:00PM.

If you have any questions just give us a call.

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1444 Dean Forest Rd. The Village of Town Center
Savannah Ga 31405
Phone: 912-964-CARE Fax: 912-964-1522