A non-invasive solution that accelerates the recovery from injured tissue.
Shock waves are audible high-energy sound waves. They occur in the atmosphere, for example, when lightning strikes, or when aeroplanes break through the sound barrier. In the medical world, shock waves have been employed since around 1980 to disintegrate kidney stones. For pain and soft tissue therapy, shock wave energy is conducted from the place of generation to the painful body regions where it accelerates the healing process by activating the body’s self healing powers (inflammation). This inflammation process stimulates metabolism and enhances blood circulation, damaged tissue gradually regenerates and eventually heals. The following are some disorders that can be treated with Shock Wave Therapy:
Tennis or Golfers elbow
Patellar tendonitis (jumpers knee)
Shin pain/shin splints
Chronic neck, shoulder and back pain
Shoulder pain, e.g. rotator cuff tendonitis/bursitis/impingement
Achilles tendon pain
Muscle tension caused by muscular trigger points
How does shockwave treatment work?
The effects of shockwave occur across several levels:
1. Cell Level Change – shockwave stimulus affects the chemical environment of tissues at a cellular level. This causes changes to free radicals which boost the release of the substances that help to prevent pain and inflammation.
2. Blood Flow Change – Normal blood flow is critical to the healing process, and shockwaves create a revascularization effect. This type of stimulus redirects new blood flow into the affected area which improves soft tissue healing and regeneration.
3. Muscle Tone Reduction – Shockwave treatment reduces the contractile activity of muscle and can also break patterns of neuro-cognitive pain that are associated with chronic conditions. This effectively decreases muscle tone and spasm, and has specific benefits with eliminating trigger points.
4. Pain Reduction – Shockwave pulses directly affect the nerve fibres that transmit pain signals to our brain. Through the Gate Control Mechanism, shockwaves impact the interneurons in the A-β fibers which prevent the communication of pain.
What should I expect with my shockwave appointment?
During your appointment you will be assessed to make sure that Shockwave is an appropriate treatment for your condition. In combination with your typical Chiropractic Visit, Shockwave is a 1-3 minute treatment that is applied to the skin. As it is using soundwaves, we use a ultrasound gel to help transmit the treatment. Please be sure to wear something that allows access to the area we need to treat.
Does shockwave therapy hurt?
Most patients experience mild discomfort during treatment, but it is generally well tolerated. The initial discomfort typically fades as the area becomes desensitized as it is being treated. We will adjust the intensity of stimulus depending on your comfort level, and can gradually ramp it up to minimize discomfort. Shockwave Therapy purposefully creates an inflammatory response in injured soft tissue, so you may also experience mild discomfort following treatment. Patients should not apply ice or take anti-inflammatory medications after shockwave treatment, as this inflammatory healing response shouldn’t be reduced.
How many treatments will I need?
Most conditions require three treatments at one-week intervals. However, more chronic or complicated conditions may require up to five treatments. Most patients experience significant improvement while undergoing the first three treatments, and improvements often continue for several weeks. In some cases, improvements can be seen up to three to four months following therapy.
How successful is Shockwave? Does it really work?
Shockwave Therapy is one of the most widely researched rehabilitation modalities used in physiotherapy clinics, with increasing numbers of scientific studies added each year. The majority of research validates the effectiveness of extracorporeal shockwave, and shows successful treatment rates of up to 90%!
Is Shockwave Therapy covered by insurance?
In the United States, unfortunately Shockwave therapy is not covered. As many insurance companies still consider this type of treatment as "experimental" they will not reimburse for it. Due to this issue, any Shockwave treatment will incur a extra fee to help cover the cost of the therapy.