What’s Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses high-energy shockwaves to stimulate healing and reduce pain in various musculoskeletal conditions. It is commonly used to treat conditions such as plantar fasciitis, tendinopathies, calcific shoulder tendinitis, and other forms of chronic pain. Shockwave therapy aims to promote tissue regeneration and improve blood circulation in the treated area.
During a shockwave therapy session:
- Gel Application: A gel is applied to the skin in the treatment area to improve the transmission of shockwaves.
- Shockwave Application: A device delivers high-energy shockwaves to the targeted area. The shockwaves are typically generated outside the body and transmitted to the treatment site.
- Duration: Each session usually lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes, and several sessions may be recommended over a period of weeks.
Types of Shockwave Therapy:
There are two main types of shockwave therapy:
- Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT): Radial shockwaves are generated from a hand-held device and spread outwards from the source. RSWT is often used for treating conditions like tendinopathies.
- Focused Shockwave Therapy (FSWT): Focused shockwaves are directed to a specific point using a specialized device. FSWT is typically used for conditions like plantar fasciitis or calcific tendinitis.
Mechanism of Action:
The exact mechanisms by which shockwave therapy works are not fully understood, but it is believed to have several effects, including:
- Promoting Healing: Shockwaves stimulate the body’s natural healing processes by increasing blood flow, releasing growth factors, and promoting tissue regeneration.
- Pain Reduction: Shockwave therapy can help reduce pain by disrupting pain signals and reducing inflammation in the treated area.
- Non-Invasive: Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical and non-invasive treatment option.
- Minimal Downtime: Patients typically experience minimal downtime after each session.
- Potential Pain Relief: Many patients report reduced pain and improved function following shockwave therapy.
- Treatment Plan: The number of sessions required varies depending on the condition being treated and the individual’s response to therapy.
- Response Varies: Individual responses to shockwave therapy can vary, and not all patients experience the same level of improvement.
- Risks: While shockwave therapy is generally considered safe, potential risks include bruising, temporary discomfort, and in rare cases, worsening of symptoms.
Before considering shockwave therapy, it’s important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider. They can assess your condition, discuss potential benefits and risks, and determine if shockwave therapy is a suitable treatment option for your specific needs.
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