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Could Shockwave Therapy Solve Your Chronic Pain?

November 07 | 2023
Posted by Erin Mills Physiotherapy

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What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave Therapy (SWT) is a modality used as treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions – typically chronic (more than 3 months), such as but not limited to:

Shockwave therapy applied to a patient's heel

Patient receiving shockwave therapy on their heel. Image by pvproductions on Freepik

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Achilles Tendinopathy
  • Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Calcific Tendonitis
  • Morton’s Neuroma

Importantly, SWT can facilitate the body’s ability to regenerate new tissue and can decrease your pain by stimulating your nerves at the site of the injury.  Not only that, it encourages tissue healing by increasing circulation around injured soft tissues and stimulating cells that generate new bone and connective tissue – triggering and accelerating the body’s natural healing response. Additionally, it breaks down calcified deposits such as in the case of Calcific Tendonitis.

How does it work?

Shockwave Therapy transforms electricity into shockwaves that are transmitted into the tissue with a small device similar to an ultrasound applicator. The treatment may cause mild discomfort during the application, but the duration is kept shorter. It may last around 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the area treated and the number of areas being treated.  You may also experience some redness, soreness, and tenderness around the area afterwards. These are normal side effects and should fade quickly within a couple of days.

What are the benefits of it?

Shockwave Therapy is an FDA approved, non-surgical treatment that is non-invasive and does not require lengthy recovery periods. It provides an alternative for chronic conditions that aren’t resolved with traditional therapy, such as Plantar Fasciitis or Tennis Elbow. It can be combined with physiotherapy to help return athletes or workers back to their sport or activity faster.

On rare occasions, side effects may cause slight discomfort and may include mild bruising or swelling as the injury heals. Typical treatment is 3-6 weeks and is recommended once a week.

Physiotherapy in conjunction with SWT could include activity modifications, specific exercises and assessing contributing issues such as tightness and weakness in muscle groups.

Where can I get shockwave therapy?

If you are suffering from chronic heel or elbow pain or are curious about SWT, then consult a physiotherapist to see if the treatment is right for you. Shockwave Therapy is presently available at our Applewood location. Book with PhysioNow today for your first assessment and treatment.

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