Shockwave therapy machine – what does it do? Is it safe? Will it help my chronic pain? Will it finally resolve my tendinopathy?
Have you heard of shockwave therapy? It is becoming more and more well known as a useful treatment modality for a variety of musculoskeletal and tendinous pathologies.
What is shockwave therapy and how does it work?
Shockwave therapy is the use of sound waves to treat injuries and muscular and tendon problems. Shockwave therapy is both FDA and TGA approved and has been the focus of many successful clinical trials and has been deemed a safe method of treatment. The hand-held device sends high energy soundwaves into the underlying target tissue.
This results in increased blood flow to the area, and increased metabolic activity around the site of the pain. These changes can lead to immediate relief from pain, and after successive treatments can accelerate the healing process – getting you pain-free quicker!
What to expect during and after your session?
Your osteopath will thoroughly examine the affected area, apply some conductive gel to the skin, and via the handheld shockwave handle, begin to send shockwaves into the target tissues. Initially, you may feel some deep pain which will be replaced by a less painful numbness or a heavy feeling – this indicates correct targeting of the problem area.
Your shockwave session is 15 minutes long by itself or can be used in conjunction with other treatment techniques, which will be a full 30-minute osteopathic consult. Many patients get pain relief straight after the first treatment. Depending on the condition and your response to the treatment, you may require 1 to 5 treatments. Usually after 3 shockwave sessions you should see an improvement in your symptoms.
After the shockwave treatment, you may experience some transient soreness or local bruising – this shouldn’t last for more than 24-48 hours.
What can it be used to treat?
The shockwave therapy machine can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to:
- Lateral and medial epicondyle tendinopathy(Tennis/Golfer’s elbow)
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Hamstring and gluteal tendinopathy
- Biceps tendinopathy
- Rotator cuff tendinopathy
- Plantar fasciitis
- Muscular strains
- Shin splints
- ITB syndrome
- Breaking up of scar tissue (previous injuries, caesarean scars)
Can shockwave therapy be used instead of a cortisone injection?
Yes! Shockwave can absolutely be used as a treatment method before committing to getting a cortisone injection. Cortisone injections are used as a method of pain relief for inflamed, irritated or damaged tendons. As said previously, the shockwave therapy machine increases blood flow to the injured tissue which provides pain relief but also stimulates the healing process.
Can shockwave therapy cause damage?
When applied to the correct orthopaedic conditions, shockwave therapy will not cause damage. However, shockwave is not a suitable method of treatment when you:
- Are pregnant or a child
- Have a pacemaker
- Have a tumour
- Have bleeding or coagulation disorders, or are taking medications for these disorders
- Have an open wound in the affected area of treatment
Think shockwave might be for you? Please feel free to give the clinic a call, to chat to Dr Sarah Duggan (osteopath) or any of our osteopaths with any questions you may have or you can book online now. It is super easy!