Shockwave therapy has been utilised in Western Medicine since the 1980s where it was first introduced to treat kidney stones and other urological disorders. Over the last 20 years, the technology has improved dramatically.
Shockwave therapy is now being used by physicians, orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists all around the world to treat musculoskeletal conditions.
Shockwave treatment is supported by clinical studies affirming its healing and reparative effects on the body, with over 80% of patients experiencing complete resolution of pain. Our Hawera Physiotherapy extracorporeal shockwave machine is the top of the range and has come from BTL in Europe, one of the world leading medical manufactures.
How does it work
Shockwave is an acoustic wave which carries high energy to painful areas in musculoskeletal tissue. The energy values of shockwave are low enough to deliver gentle therapy, but high enough to promote physiological changes and trigger a healing response. The energy in the machine is created by transferring compressed air under large pressure into the applicator. The kinetic energy of the air is then pushed at high speed against the transmitter, generating high-energy-peak acoustic waves. Upon contact with the skin, these acoustic waves penetrate the tissue non-invasively and promote overall medical effects of accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, analgesia and mobility restoration.
What to expect
An initial assessment is essential. Your Hawera Physiotherapy Practitioner will conduct a thorough examination to ensure your diagnosis is appropriate for Shockwave Treatment. Your Hawera Physiotherapy Practitioner will then start your five-step treatment plan.
LOCATION OF THE AREA TO BE TREATED
The area to be treated is located using palpation in order to deliver the therapy precisely
Sufficient amount of gel is applied to the area located in step 1. Use of gel is necessary to transfer the acoustic waves efficiently and smoothly
The Shockwave applicator is slightly pushed against the area to be treated and the start button is pressed
The shockwave applicator is then moved continuously across the painful tissue with a painting or swivelling technique. This application typically takes about five minutes to deliver a single treatment. Most people describe the pressure sensation of the application as uncomfortable rather than painful and is well tolerated amongst most patients
This process is repeated between three and five times with three to seven days between each treatment. Some patients notice an immediate improvement in their pain; however, the best results occur 12 weeks after the initial treatment. It is recommended that patients do rest from physical activity that involves the treated area for 48 hours following each treatment.
Key effects of shockwave therapy
Reduce pain mediators
Substance P is a neurotransmitter that mediates pain information through C-fibres. This neuropeptide is associated with intense, persistent and chronic pain. Acoustic waves generated by Shockwave work to decrease Substance P, histamines and other nociceptive metabolites resulting in a reduction in pain and inflammatory oedema.
Enhance collagen production
The production of collagen is necessary for the repair of damaged tissue. Shockwave therapy stimulates the tissue at a cellular level to accelerate collagen synthesis, improve collagen alignment and reduce scar tissue.
New blood vessel formation
Nutrient blood flow is necessary to start and maintain the repair processes of damaged tissue. The application of acoustic waves creates capillary micro ruptures in tendon and bone tissue, resulting in the stimulation and remodelling of new blood vessels to support faster healing.
Reversal of chronic inflammation
Mast cells are one of the key components of the inflammatory process and their activity is increased by using acoustic waves. Mast cell activation is followed by the production of chemokines and cytokines. These pro-inflammatory compounds enhance the inflammatory process and help to restore normal healing and regenerative processes.
Calcium build-up is most often a result of micro-tears to a tendon. Acoustic waves generated by the shockwave machine help to break up the existing calcifications. The granular particles of calcium are then removed by the lymphatic system and tendon health is restored.
Release of trigger points
Trigger points are the principal cause of muscle pain and tightness. They are the result of a metabolic crisis within the tissue and are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibres. The acoustic energy delivered by the shockwave machine unblocks the calcium pump, reverses the metabolic crisis and releases the trigger points resulting in a reduction in pain and increase in muscle length.
Most sub-acute – chronic conditions of the musculoskeletal tissue. Commonly treated conditions include:
Rotator cuff tendinopathy
Tennis & golfers elbow
And much more! Get in touch to find out what else shockwave can help with.