How Does Shock Wave Therapy Work?

Many specialists consider extracorporeal shock wave therapy, also referred to as ESWT, a breakthrough treatment for pain management and mobility restoration. With an excellent success rate, this form of therapy can be used to treat a series of conditions, including fractures, Achilles tendon, calcaneal spur (heel spur), calcific tendinitis (rotator cuff), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), bursitis, renal calculi (kidney stones), and even scars and non-healing ulcers.

Defined as a non-invasive procedure that works by delivering pulses of energy in form of radial sound waves, ESWT initiates a rapid inflammatory response in the tissue. The normal physiological reaction to inflammation is vasodilatation, which increases blood flow within the affected area of the body, stimulating cell regeneration. Cell regeneration not only promotes healing, but also helps relieve pain and inflammation.

The pulses of energy are delivered with the help of some special devices pressed on to the injured tissue. Specific low- and high-energy devices are used in low- and high-energy shock wave therapy. Typically, low-energy ESWT is administered in outpatient environments without any type of sedation. The shock waves may be a little bit uncomfortable, but not painful. Conversely, since high-energy treatments are more painful than low-energy therapy, they are administered under general or regional anaesthesia.

In order to benefit from ESWT, you need to visit a specialist who must recommend ESWT as the most appropriate form of treatment for your condition. While the vast majority of people need between three and five sessions, you will have to undergo a higher number of sessions or combinations of ESWT and physiotherapy if you suffer from a resistant problem.

Although most patients see an improvement in symptoms immediately after the first session, some people may take several weeks to respond to this form of therapy. In some very rare cases, swelling or reddening associated with a brief increase in pain, tingling or numbness has been observed. These minor complications are transient, typically disappearing within several days.

You should be able to return to your daily activities right after the last session. For the next four to six weeks, you must avoid any sporting activities and lifting heavy objects. As well, the use of ice and anti-inflammatory medication should be avoided for several days after the therapy is completed.
Find out more about shock wave therapy and its beneficial effects by calling us at 905.918.0419 in Richmond Hill or 905.235.2620 in Newmarket, or by contacting us via our online form. Our team of specialists are ready to evaluate your case accurately and offer you all the details you need to make a documented decision about the most appropriate medical treatment for you.