What is shockwave therapy and how does it work?

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ESWT (Extracorporeal shockwave therapy) is a relatively new treatment option that has emerged for patients with chronic tendon pain. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy focuses shockwaves onto and into the body and is currently being used to treat a wide range of conditions, including:

The treatment is available in both low-energy and high-energy variants. Both high and low energy options can be used to treat the above conditions.

For lower energy treatment, more than one session is needed (usually two or three) and they are only mildly painful (or not at all for some) and don’t require any anaesthetic. High-energy shockwaves do usually require some local anaesthetic as they are quite painful to experience, and only one session is needed.

How does shockwave therapy treatment work?

Shockwave therapy causes microtrauma to the tissue that it’s aimed at (the tissue causing the chronic problems), initiating a healing response from the body. This healing response causes blood vessels to form and nutrients to be delivered to the area affected by the treatment. In basic terms, the shockwaves cause microtrauma, which stimulate the body’s repair functions, relieving pain.

History of shockwave therapy 

The first report for extracorporeal shockwave therapy was back in 1996, with a range of individual investigators into the treatment having published positive results when using shockwaves to treat the conditions listed above.

In 2000, the treatment became FDA approved for use in the treatment of plantar fasciitis, meaning that there was sufficient evidence to suggest that it worked.

The benefits of shockwave therapy

The best thing about the treatment is that it is totally non-invasive. It’s not a surgical option, so it doesn’t require any cutting and it doesn’t have the nuisance of being a medical pill or injection, which can have several nasty side effects.

The chronic issues that the therapy treats are difficult to treat any other way and surgery can often lead to serious complications, such as infection or further pain. Using shockwave therapy has little complications that we know of, so contact us today if you would like to find out more.

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