Shock Wave Therapy: How It Works
This high-tech self-administered healing therapy provides painless, safe, high-quality physiotherapy treatment. It accelerates the body’s healing process to regenerate damaged tissue by stimulating the metabolism and improving blood circulation. The Extracorporeal ShockWave applies strong energy pulses for short periods creating micro-cavitation bubbles that expand and burst. The resulting force penetrates tissues to stimulate connective tissues and bone healing cells, helping the body cure itself.
Shockwave Therapy is popular and effective in the management of chronic tendon conditions in the elbow, shoulder, and around the heels.
A shockwave is an intense wave of energy that travels faster than sound. Through modern kinds of pain therapy, shockwaves are used to penetrate deeply into the body to the source of the pain. Once the shockwave hits the tissue that is causing the pain, it can provide a healing side effect when the tissue absorbs the energy from the wave.
Due to the targeted shockwave application, Shockwave Therapy can prevent surgical intervention and its inherent dangers, plus it can significantly reduce stress to the surrounding tissues while the body is not burdened by pharmaceuticals.
In addition, since Shockwave Therapy can be self-administered, work absences and doctors’ visits can be reduced to a minimum.
Talk to us today about your situation so we can determine if Shockwave Therapy is the best option for you.
A shockwave is an intense wave of energy that travels faster than sound. Through modern kinds of pain therapy, shockwaves are used to penetrate deeply into the body to the source of the pain. Once the shockwave hits the tissue that is causing the pain, it can provide a healing side effect when the tissue absorbs the energy from the wave. Basically, shockwaves are used to stimulate cells and processes in the body, which encourages the body to heal.
In addition to encouraging the healing process, ESWT seems to have an effect on nerves, reducing pain.
The shockwave energy therapy works when you have a soft tissue problem that is degenerative and chronic. There are a number of treatments and therapies such as steroids, anti-inflammatory medicine, acupuncture, and massage. However, these methods are not as effective as shockwave therapy. This is because many of these treatments lose their effectiveness as time goes on; a good example is using steroids. The more injections you get the more it will lose its effectiveness on the body. This isn’t really unexpected when you realize that a chronic-state, degenerative injury is not likely to respond well to a medicine designed to affect an acute-phase, inflammatory condition. Many treatments only focus on dealing with the acute phase but lose effectiveness with chronic inflammatory problems.
Musculoskeletal shockwaves can activate a number of biological mechanisms. Some of which are:
- Tissue regeneration through stem cell activation and migration
- Improved blood circulation that will start healing in the treated area
- Long-term stimulation of metabolism
- Pain relief in a few treatment sessions
- Changes in cell membrane permeability
- Growth factor (VEGF, etc.) promotion
- Mitochondrial changes
- Neurotransmitter dilution (Substance P)
- Nitric Oxygen (NO) promotion
- Free radical liberation
ESWT creates an intense energy pulse (5 to 100 MPa) that lasts around 10 milliseconds.
This energy pulse shatters the sound barrier; this is what makes the actual shockwave.
Here you can see an aircraft breaking the sound barrier and producing shockwaves. The shockwaves used for therapy are identical to the shockwaves produced by an aircraft, just much smaller.
However, unlike an airplane when we produce a shockwave, we are able to control it and focus it precisely.
Then the shockwave creates a tension force and a mechanical pressure on the tissue that is afflicted. This improves cell membrane permeability, which can increase the metabolism and microscopic circulation within the tissue being treated.
Second, the ESWT shock waves pressure front creates behind it what is known as “cavitation bubbles”. An example of a single cavitation bubble is pictured to the right.
Cavitation bubbles are hollow cavities that are created behind the energy front. They usually expand until they collapse into themselves, similar to a bubble popping.
When the bubble pops, a force is produced. This force is powerful enough to break down the various pathological deposits of calcification within the soft tissue.
When the cavitation bubble pops, they also create smaller second energy waves that are called microjets. Here you can see the microjet in the diagram on the right. You can also see it in the center of the cavitation bubble in the picture above.
These microjets are also powerful enough to help break down the various pathological deposits of calcification within the soft tissue. It does this through a mechanical and direct means.
During ESWT treatment, one or a few cavitation bubbles are not produced but rather thousands of them are created at one time.
In the picture on the right, you can see what a shockwave produced from hundreds of cavitation bubbles looks like.
Now just imagine thousands of these shockwaves being used to break down deposits of calcification that are found in spurs, soft tissues, and joints, over the period of the ESWT treatment.
Common areas for this treatment include attachment points of ligaments and tendons in crucial joints such as the shoulder or rotator cuff, elbow, knee, hip, and more.
This is actually one of our specialties through our ESWT treatment. Shockwave therapy can also be used to treat several different conditions in the foot such as:
- Plantar Fasciitis or Fasciosis (Strained Arch)
- Achilles Tendinitis or Tendinosis
- Calcific Tendinitis or Tendinosis
- Connective Tissue Pain and degeneration
- Muscle Pain and Injuries
- Joint Injuries
- Morton’s Neuromas
Shockwave therapy is used to encourage bone healing and can be used to treat:
- Stress Fractures
- Avascular Necrosis (A dead portion of bone)
- Slow-healing bone (Delayed unions)
- Non-healing bone (Non-unions)
Shockwave therapy can also be used to treat urological conditions like Peyronie’s Disease but we do not have the capabilities to treat any kind of urological condition here. We focus on musculoskeletal injuries and issues.
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