What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy treatments transmit kinetic energy directed at specific painful areas in the body in order to decrease pain, relieve trigger points, increase blood flow and dissolve abnormal calcifications. Compressed air creates acoustic waves which are transmitted through the projectile via the transmitter to promote regeneration and restoration of soft tissues, bones and tendons.
Patients with chronic pain who have been through other unsuccessful therapies in an attempt to resolving their conditions have found significant relief with Shockwave therapy. Some discomfort may be experienced during treatment, however most patients describe the sensation as ‘pins and needles’ and are able to tolerate the treatment as it only lasts for approximately 3-5 minutes. The intensity of the treatment can be adjusted throughout the session so the patient will always remain comfortable.
Acoustic waves with high energy peak used in Shockwave therapy interact with tissue causing overall medical effects of accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, analgesia and mobility restoration.
Most patients will experience an immediate pain relief following the treatment. However, within 2–4 hours after the treatment, they may experience some soreness in the treated area. This soreness has been reported as tolerable and not limiting.
It is recommended that patients refrain from physical activity, especially one that would involve the treated region, for about 48 hours following each treatment session.
Top 10 Reasons Patients Seek Shockwave Therapy
1. Bone Spurs
3. Tennis Elbow
4. Back/Neck Pain
5. Hip Pain
6. Shoulder Pain
7. Jumper’s Knee
8. Insertional Pain
10. Tibial Stress Syndrome
How Does Shockwave Therapy Work?
Breaks Down Calcifications/Spurs:
Calcifications or joint spurs occur in the body as a result of frequent micro-trauma to tendons and improperly functioning joints. When a joint is not functioning properly, the body acts according to ‘Wolf’s Law’ and begins to lay down more bone in order to stabilize the joint, thus creating a calcification. These calcifications/spurs can cause pain and discomfort in the body depending on their location and severity. Acoustic waves created by Shockwave therapy break up these calcifications which are then removed from the body via the lymphatic system.
Elimination of Acute/Chronic Inflammation:
Inflammation is an essential part of the healing process, however when the inflammatory response is not managed it can damage healthy tissue and cause chronic pain. Shockwave therapy helps to activate mast cells, a key component of the inflammatory process, which increase the production of chemokines and cytokines helping to restore normal healing and regeneration of healthy tissue.
Increase Collagen Production:
In order for damaged joints and ligaments to heal, a sufficient amount of collagen production is necessary. Shockwave therapy accelerates collagen synthesis and helps to align fibers into the proper longitudinal formation making the tendon stronger and firmer after being damaged.
Release of Trigger Points:
When joints are not functioning or moving properly, palpable nodules/taut bands of muscle fibers or ‘trigger points’ are created within the body causing pain in the back, neck, shoulders and extremities. This muscle tightness and dysfunction causes waste products to build up in the muscle tissue irritating nerves and causing pain. This cycle is referred to as ‘metabolic crisis’. The acoustic energy created by Shockwave therapy unblocks the calcium pump and thus reverses ‘metabolic crisis’ in the myofilaments and releases trigger points allowing the joints and muscles to function properly without pain.
Decrease Concentration of the ‘Substance P’ Neurotransmitter:
Substance P is a neurotransmitter associated with intense, persistent pain which sends nociceptive/pain messages to the central nervous system. Shockwave therapy helps to lower the concentration of Substance P and therefore reduces the stimulation of afferent nociceptive/pain fibers.
New Blood Vessel Formation:
Blood vessels allow the flow of nutrients to damaged areas in the body and are necessary to facilitate the healing of damaged tissues. Acoustic waves created by Shockwave therapy stimulate capillary micro-ruptures in tendon and bone increasing the expression of growth factors such as eNOS, VEGF, PCNS and BMP. This process enables the body to improve it’s blood supply and oxygen levels supporting faster healing and recovery.
How Often Will I Need Treatments?
The number of treatments varies depending on the type of condition being treated and tissue response. Each treatment builds on the last, so the effect of Shockwave therapy is cumulative and you will likely need more than one visit. Very often though, you will experience relief right after the first treatment. Most diagnoses require 3–5 treatments performed 3–10 days apart, depending on the patient’s tolerance and their tissue response. Other therapies such as chiropractic adjustments, myofacsial/trigger point therapy, physical therapy, electrical stimulation and ultrasound may be combined with your therapy in order to speed the healing process.
At Wellness Way Chiropractic in Burlington we are experts at diagnosing your condition and prescribing the most appropriate and effective treatment plan. Schedule your first consultation today and start living your best life possible!