Shockwave therapy is an effective treatment especially for soft tissue injuries that have been resistant to other treatment methods.
It was originally used as a non-surgical method to break up kidney stones. After this success, researchers decided to see if this could benefit other conditions, namely tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues.
What conditions can be treated?
Includes but limited to:
Tendinopathy/tendinitis - Irritation of the tendon. Most commonly seen in Achilles, Patella, and shoulder.
Plantar fasciitis (Heel pain) - Pain at the sole of the foot associated with increased walking or running. Characterised by morning stiffness and pain with the first few steps after being sat down a while.
Shin Splints - Pain along the shin associated with increased walking or running
Epicondylitis (Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow) - Pain at either the inside or outside of the elbow. Sore to grip or fully extend elbow.
Calcific tendinopathy - Calcium deposits in the tendon – most commonly seen in the front or side of the shoulder.
Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (Hip) - Pain and soreness on the side of the hip (on the “bony bit”). Pain with walking, lying on your side.
How does it work?
Although it’s called shockwave – there are no electric shocks involved at all! The machine sends out short, intense acoustic waves that ripple deep into the tissues, hitting the spot that’s causing you pain! It puts the body into repair mode and kickstarts the body’s natural healing processes.
Much like how ice/heat massage works – adding a therapeutic stimulus has a pain relieving effect meaning you feel and move much better.
Increased blood flow
New blood vessels begin to form around the painful area bringing healing factors. This effect peaks at four weeks and continues for as long as twelve weeks.
Ligaments and tendons are formed of a strong fibre called collagen. Shockwave treatment increases the body’s production of collagen, increasing the strength of the related tissues.
Short term inflammation is needed for healing. It kick starts the cells into repair mode, restarting that initial healing process. This is why it may feel sore for a few days post treatment similar to that feeling of “being worked on”.
There is some evidence that shockwave strengthen bones and increases the amount of cartilage. This may provide some benefit to arthritic joints.
How many sessions will I need?
Everyone is different.
Typically, most conditions greatly improve after 4-6 sessions but this depends on how your body responds to the treatment. Whilst the shockwave treatment is an important aspect, the long term benefits lie in effective rehabilitation exercises alongside treatment.
Shockwave Therapy is not available for online booking. It is not suitable you everyone and not everyone needs it. Therefore, after an initial assessment, your osteopath will advise if this is the best treatment for you.