What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive method of treating soft tissue injuries. Shock wave is a short energy wave with high intensity, traveling faster than sound.
Indication for Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy is used to treat many musculoskeletal conditions such as attachment points for ligaments and bones. A very common indication is heel spurs. It is also indicated for jumper’s knee, Achilles tendon injury, connective tissue pain and degeneration, muscle pain and injuries. Shockwave therapy is also used for bone healing conditions like stress fractures, avascular necrosis (dead portion of bone), non-healing bone or slow healing bone.
Preparation for Shockwave Therapy
The shockwave treatment course involves two outpatient sessions. The duration between the sessions is 1 week. You should not consume heavy meals before the session and you will be asked to wear loose-fitting clothes.
Shockwave Therapy Procedure
During the session, you will sit comfortably on a table. A scanner will be used to guide the shockwave emitter exactly to the site of injury. Around 2000 shockwaves will be fired and a tapping sensation will be followed with each shockwave. Duration of each session is about 30 minutes.
Post-treatment care for Shockwave Therapy
You can continue with your regular daily activities immediately after each session. In cases of heel spurs, running should be avoided for a week or more after the second session.
Advantages of Shockwave Therapy
The shockwave therapy does not disintegrate tissue; rather, it causes biological effects that help in tissue regeneration. It reduces pain and sensitivity immediately by over-stimulating pain transmission nerves. The therapy triggers the repair mechanism of the body by formation of new blood vessels. The shockwave stimulates osteoblasts (bone cells) in the body and promotes bone healing and new bone production.
Risks and Complications
Shockwave therapy is considered a safe and effective treatment option for soft tissue injuries. It has no major risks but may be associated with minor risks such as:
- Pain (energy levels of shock waves can be adjusted to your individual tolerance levels)
- It is not preferred if you have bone tumors, metabolic bone conditions, and nerve or circulation disorders.
- It is not recommended if you are pregnant, have areas of infection, locations where gas is present in the body and on locations where bone is still growing.