What is Shock Wave Therapy?
Shock wave therapy is the application of a high-energy acoustic pulse transmitted into the tissue of the affected area of the body. Each Shock wave treatment works to increase the metabolic activity around the site of pain or discomfort. This stimulates the body’s natural healing process, thus reducing pain and promoting the reabsorption of irritative calcium deposits in tendons.
In pain management, shock wave is usually applied in 4-5 treatment sessions, each one week apart, some patients may require more for the best results.
Approximately 80% of our patients report a substantial improvement after the second treatment in combination with postural support.
The most common injuries that we treat with Shock Wave therapy include:
- Plantar fasciitis (acute heel/arch pain)
- Plantar fasciosis (chronic long term heel spur pain)
- Achilles tenderness
- Ankle pain (sprained ankles)
How does it work?
C nerve fibres are responsible for transmitting pain in the body. They release a specific substance known as substance P. This substance is responsible for causing slight discomfort during and after shock wave treatment. However, with prolonged activation, C nerve fibres become incapable, for some time, of releasing substance P and causing pain.Less substance P in the tissue leads to reduced pain and a reduction on neurogenic inflammation. A decline in neurogenic inflammation may in turn promote healing through the release of growth factors and the activation of stem cells in the treated tissue. In the treatment of tendinopathy it is thought that the energy delivered via RSWT results in an increase in the diffusion of substances called cytokines across vessel walls into the pain-generating region. This results in the resolution of the tendinopathy via the stimulation of angiogenesis (development of new bloods vessels) and the healing process.
What are the risks with shock wave therapy?
- Some pain and discomfort during and after treatment (an anaesthetic is not required)
- Reddening of the skin
- Tiny purple/red bruises on the skin
- Swelling and numbness of the skin over the treatment area