Shockwave therapy or Extracoporal Shockwave therapy (ESWT) can treat acute and chronic tendinitis in the arms/legs, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis, among other conditions. These conditions often affect athletes but can also affect everyday people, especially those who lead more active lifestyles. The most common symptoms of these injuries are pain and discomfort along the muscle or near the joint, when these injuries happen. The pain from acute/chronic tendinitis can be quite severe at times. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy can help.
What is Shockwave ?
Shockwave therapy is anon-invasive modality that uses high-intensity acoustic (sound) shockwaves directed into specific tissues to promote healing. Through induction of a safe amount of stress on the tissue, it helps break up scar tissue, improve microcirculation, and increases local metabolism. It can serve as an alternative treatment to surgical intervention, reduce the need for medication management and can be a great adjunct to rehabilitation.
Shockwave was initially used to break up kidney stones but the therapy has evolved over the years and is now also being used successfully to treat musculoskeletal conditions like tennis elbow and plantar fasciitis. ESWT is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat lateral epicondylitis and plantar fasciitis.
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Shockwave therapy helps to accelerate the body’s normal healing process. It helps speed up the recovery of injured joints and tissue while diminishing pain and discomfort.
Extracorporeal Shockwave therapy works in two ways, either through focused shockwaves or radial pressure waves. Both methods are outpatient, and several treatments, usually around 5, may be required to treat your specific condition. There is no need for anesthesia since the shockwave used is low energy. The client lays down with affected area exposed. The operator applies a special gel to the affected area, which helps deleiver the impuses deeper into the skin. Rapid impulses are then deleivered to the patient. treatment typically lasts about 5-10 mnutes. While the treatment can be uncomfortable for some, most do not experience any pain. Clients should limit activity during treatment to allow the tissue to heal and improve results. Treatments are performed every 5-7 days. They are not performed more frequently to allow tissues sufficient time to recover between sessions.
While the FDA has approved shockwave treatment therapy as a treatment for several conditions, very few insurance companies have yet incorporate this treatment to their plans. You’ll need to check with your insurance company provider to determine whether shockwave therapy is covered for you.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is safe for most people. Still, some individuals do face
some side effects, either from improper use of the therapy treatment or otherwise. The most common of adverse side effects are:
- Discomfort or pain during treatment
- Post-treatment pain
- Red skin
- Increased sensitivity (hyperesthesia)
- Nerve pain (neuralgia)
- Burning sensation (paresthesia)
- A reaction to the site of the treatment
Due to the nature of the treatment, the U.S. FDA also restricts the use of ESWT in certain cases. Should any of the following being near of the area of treatment, the ESWT can’t be used:
- Malignant tumors
- An unborn child
- Lung tissue
- Epiphyseal plate
- Prosthetic devices