What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive procedure in which pressure waves are introduced into the body through the skin to treat various conditions and chronic pain.
How does it work?
Shockwave therapy works by enhancing blood flow to the injured area, thereby accelerating the natural healing process.
When should I consider having shockwave therapy?
Shockwave Therapy is a more advanced treatment option considered when conservative treatments such as rest, ice therapy, painkillers, steroid injections, and physiotherapy fail to offer patients adequate relief.
What can Shockwave Help?
It can treat various conditions including:
- Biceps Tendonitis – A condition caused by overuse of the muscle or muscles of the shoulder in a repeated movement or activity at or above shoulder height. Sometimes people can get biceps Tendonitis in the elbow from carrying objects or repeatedly bending at the elbow.
- Plantar fascitis – A condition characterised by stabbing pain in the heel due to the inflammation of plantar fascia, which connects the bones to the toes.
- Achilles tendonitis – A condition caused by overuse of the Achilles’ tendon, found between the calf muscles and the hind lower leg
- Calcific tendonitis – This refers to pain caused by calcium buildup in the tendon, leading to pressure and irritation
- Lateral epicondylitis or “tennis elbow” – A condition characterised by the inflammation and pain in the tendons of the elbow due to overuse of the forearm, arm, and the hand muscles
- Medial epicondylitis or “golfer’s elbow”
- Tendonitis of the wrist, forearm, patella (knee), hip
- Trigger Finger – a condition of locking or catching of the finger tendon when you try to straighten your finger.
- DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis – A condition caused by overuse or injury to the thumb and wrist tendon sheath.
- Bursitis of the shoulder, knee, hip
- Muscle Trigger points or “knots” – areas of chronic pain in muscles of the shoulder, neck, back
- Morton’s neuromas – This refers to heel pain caused by thickening of connective tissues surrounding the nerve between the bases of the toes (common in women, usually due to long-term use of high heels or tight shoes)
- TMJ dysfunction
- Heel spur – This refers to the pain due to calcium deposit protrusion on the underside of the heel bone
Who is NOT a candidate for Shockwave Therapy?
Although generally safe, shockwave is not recommended for:
- Pregnant women
- Patients taking blood clot inhibiting medications (anticoagulants) and antiplatelet drugs
- Patients with bone tumours and certain metabolic bone conditions
- Patients with nerve and circulation disorders
- Those with cardiac pacemaker or other device installed
- Those with an active infection
- Patients who had a steroid injection in the past three months
Does Shockwave hurt?
During the procedure, patients usually feel some degree of discomfort. During treatment, your therapist may adjust treatment intensity to ensure that the pain is manageable and tolerable for you.
After the session, patients are usually able to stand up and walk normally. Pain medications, anti-inflammatory medication, or ice therapy are NOT recommended as these might interfere with the proper healing process. While normal activities can be resumed right away, strenuous activities must be avoided for 48 hours after the session. There may be light bruising, redness, or tenderness in the next few days after your treatment.
We usually recommend your second shockwave treatment session to be one week later for this reason.
Most patients notice significant improvement after just one session. Success rates are about 80% and increases to 90% with a second treatment.
Possible Risks and Complications
With shockwave therapy, there is no need for surgery, anaesthesia, or medications. As such, the procedure is free of side effects, assuming proper preparations were conducted. However, some patients report slight tingling sensation, hypersensitivity, redness, bruising or swelling, numbness, and warmth – all of which go away within a few days.
There may be a small risk for tendon or ligament to rupture as well as soft tissue damage. However, this is very rare and our therapists are very careful to ensure that your treatment is carefully delivered and your reactions carefully monitored.