A therapy that aims to heal injured body tissue with targeted sound waves may bring pain relief to people with orthopaedic and sports-related injuries, a study of professional athletes suggests.
The treatment, known as Shockwave therapy, delivers pulses of sound waves to areas of injured body tissue, via a hand-held probe placed on the skin.
Shockwaves have also been studied, as an alternative treatment when more conservative therapies fail. These include heel pain caused by a condition called plantar fasciitis, as well as tennis elbow, Achilles tendon injuries, stress fractures and “frozen” shoulder.
In the U.S., shockwave devices are approved for treating plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow. The therapy is more widely used in Europe, where it was developed.
A shockwave is a purely mechanical wave, not an electric one. The treatment initiates an inflammation-like repair condition in the tissue that is being treated. The body responds by increasing the blood circulation and metabolism in the impact area which in turn accelerates the body’s own healing processes. The shockwaves break down injured tissue and calcifications. Documented international results show an overall result rate of 77% of chronic conditions that have not been cured with other kinds of treatment.”
Shockwave Therapy is applied without medication, for example Cortisone injections. The treatment stimulates and effectively supports the body’s self-healing mechanisms. It is usual to experience immediate pain relief following the treatment and hence improved movement.
Reported side effects are rare and when they occur are very minimal.
It takes 5-10 minutes to administer 2-3,000 shockwaves per treatment.
The response to shockwave treatment is normally exceptionally good within a few short weeks. However in very chronic conditions it may take a couple months before maximum effect is achieved.
I can certainly vouch for its efficacy having had a series of treatments to both knees and my shoulder. The pain in these areas had been plaguing me for some months and after the second and third sessions it seems to have completely taken care of the problem.