What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment for soft tissue injuries. Shock waves are directed to the site of the injury through a special treatment probe.
During Shockwave therapy, high energy sound waves are applied to the injured area to break down any scar tissue and calcifications which your body may not be able to repair itself. As the tissue is broken down by the shock waves the body starts building up a new tissue to replicate the body’s own self -healing process.
The first medical treatment with shockwaves was lithotripsy. This allowed focused shockwaves to essentially dissolve kidney stones without surgical intervention. Today, over 98% of all kidney stones are treated with this technology. The use of shockwaves to treat tendon related pain began in the early 1990s.
- Pain relief
- Non surgical
- Non Invasive
- No medication
- Fast Treatment
- Minimal Complications
- Succeeds where other treatments have failed
- 70-90% significant or total resolution in difficult chronic cases
What does it treat?
- Heel pain/ Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendon pain
- Shin pain/Shin splints
- Knee pain (patellar tendonitis)
- Hip pain (tendinopathy)
- Tennis elbow
- Golfers elbow
- Shoulder pain
- High Hamstring pain
You must undergo training in the use of Shockwave treatment for chronic tendon problems
How long do treatments sessions last?
The actual shockwave treatment is quick and non-invasive it usually takes between 4-8 minutes to deliver, sessions usually last up to 45 minutes and would include:
- Education about managing chronic tendon pain
- Manual therapy
- Specific exercise programme
- Shockwave treatment
- Post Shockwave advice
The most common shockwave treatment process is 4 to 6 sessions, with 5-10 day interval between treatments.
How long before I see a difference or am fully recovered?
Some patients see immediate results others see improvements over time, it really depends on the person and the problem. On average treatments are required once a week for approximately four weeks. In 20-30% of patients there is a chance that they will see no or little improvement as this treatment isn’t for everyone.
Will it hurt?
Treatment can be uncomfortable, but you should not experience pain at a level that cannot be tolerated. Don’t be concerned if discomfort increases again 2-3 weeks after – this is the repair process. Do not take NSAID’s (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or ice for 48 hours after the treatment and make sure you take things a little easier.
Are there any side effects?
Generally, patients do not experience any side effects.
Some potential side effects are:
- Localised discomfort or numbness
These side effects should only last from a few hours to a few days.
Will I be able to go back to work/drive immediately after treatment?
- There is a very small risk of tendon or ligament rupture in some cases
Yes, in the majority of cases there should be no reason you cannot carry on with your day to day activity as normal, however as with any treatment we would recommend you take things a little easier after treatment.
Are there any conditions that would prevent me having Shockwave Therapy?
Yes, you are unable to receive Shockwave therapy if you have any of the following and must inform your physiotherapist immediately:
What should I wear for treatment?
- Under 18 years of age
- Anticoagulant Medication
- Active blood clots (DVT)
- Pregnancy or trying to conceive
- Active Cancer disease
- Corticosteroid Injection in the last 6 weeks
As with a physiotherapy session we recommend loose, comfortable clothing that allows access to the problem area.
Do I need to bring anything else with me?
No, just bring yourself.
How do I know if this treatment is right for me?
Your Clinician will be able to advise if this treatment is for you. The treatment isn’t for everybody, its generally used when a patient hasn’t responded to traditional therapies and the have been struggling with their condition for at least 6 months.
Is it expensive?
Shockwave Therapy is £60 a session, £165 for 3 sessions or £300 for 6 sessions. Although shockwave therapy is more expensive than traditional physiotherapy, it does require investment in the latest technologies and maintaining these and we are confident it will provide a fuller and faster recovery to most patients with chronic pain. If you have Private Medical cover your insurer may cover the cost of Shockwave Therapy, please contact them to check your level of cover.