shockwave therapy

Heal Faster With Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is a new advanced technology device used in orthopaedics, physical therapy, and sports medicine that provides fast pain relief and restores mobility by focusing high energy sound waves into injured body tissues. These waves stimulate the body’s own healing mechanism by increasing blood flow to the area and stimulating the growth of new blood vessels.  Since we are able to focus these shock waves to specific tissues deep within the body, it is an ideal therapy to speed up recovery and cure injuries causing acute or chronic pain. Shock Wave therapy has actually been shown to heal rotator cuff tears, plantar fasciitis, and tendon injuries.  Contact Joint Effort Physical Therapy today to find out more about our shockwave therapy and how we can aid you in your recovery process.

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What Conditions Can Be Treated?

Shockwave Therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal conditions, in particular, those involving areas where major connective tissue attaches to the bone. Common sites that can be successfully treated are:

  • Jumper’s Knee – While this sounds like an athletic injury, it is actually seen in patients of all ages.  Jumper’s knee is an inflammation or injury of the patellar tendon felt as pain, tenderness and functional deficit. This condition may interfere with daily activities and recreation, regardless of age and is difficult to treat.
  • Shoulder Pain– The shoulder is a remarkable joint.  The joint is known as a “ball and socket” joint, but resembles a golf ball sitting on a golf tee.  The shoulder depends on the strength and coordination of the muscles surrounding the joint.  If each of the muscles (the rotator cuff) are not working together, the joint may become unstable and painful.  Pain of the shoulder can be caused by any combination of dysfunction.  Sometimes the pain is simply due to overuse or inflammation, or it can be more serious.  Pain is often more pronounced at night.  Accurate diagnosis of the problem is essential.  A complete physical therapy diagnosis should help to determine the source of the pain.  e.g. calcifications, impingement syndrome (pinched tissues) or frozen shoulder which can feel like a dull to severe pain and limit your daily life.  Tears of the rotator cuff tendons are actually very common, but most can be completely healed with physical therapy, exercise, and Shock Wave therapy.
  • Tennis Elbow – Tennis elbow is a common condition occurring in up to 10% of the general population. Unfortunately, the conservative treatment of epicondylitis can be lengthy, and may require medication (pain killers, steroid injections) and often requires stopping all activities for extended periods of time.. Shockwave therapy, on the other hand, offers rather prompt pain relief and cure with the efficiency of over 70% in 3- 5 treatments.
  • Foot Pain – Foot pain can be debilitating.  Pain is often worst first thing in the morning or when walking barefoot.  Inflammation of the ligaments that support the arch of the foot, or bone spurs on the underside of the heel bone can result in scarring or thickening of the plantar fascia (plantar fasciitis). The pain can be excruciating and can limit your daily activities.  Focused Shock Waves can be directed at the affected tissues to induce healing.  Shock Wave therapy is specifically approved by the FDA for the treatment of plantar fasciitis.
  • Muscle Tendon Pain – Pain in the area where a muscle attaches to a bone typically occurs due to repetitive or prolonged activities placing strain on the tissues, causing inflammation and pain.  We can use Focused Shock Wave to target these specific tissues and heal the injury without medications or injections.
  • Chronic Tendinopathy – Many tendon injuries are not the result of a major trauma, but rather the accumulation of microtraumas over time.  Repetitive overuse can result in chronic tendinopathy (tendinitis or tendinosis). Tendinopathies in various areas of the body are a very common diagnosis for both athletes and people in the general population.  Focused Shock Wave treatments allow us to penetrate into the tendon to generate the growth of new blood vessels and stimulate healing.
  • Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints) – Shin splints typically occur due to activities which place large amounts of stress through the tibialis anterior muscle–the muscle in the front of the shin. These activities may include fast walking or running (especially up or downhill or on hard or uneven surfaces) or sporting activity (such as kicking sports). Traditional treatments can take a long time.  Shock Wave therapy can be used to target the exact site of the injury and treat it directly in just a few visits.
  • Calcifications (Calcium Deposits)– Abnormal calcium deposits can occur in any injured tissue.  When these deposits occur in tendon or muscle, it can be very painful.  Calcifying tendinitis is a chronic pain disorder that is typically characterized by calcifications in the tendons surrounding the shoulder, but can occur in any joint. Such deposits cause pain and range of motion limitations.  If left untreated, the tendon can rupture when it cannot support the stress on the joint.  Focused Shock Wave therapy can help to “break up” calcific deposits, resulting in healing of the tissue and improved function.
  • Joint Pain – With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons surrounding the joint can get overused, become inflamed, or lose their ability to function properly.  Degenerated, unsupported bone itself can crack or fracture due to a fall or other injury. Any of these conditions can lead to pain and further damage in the joint area.  Focused Shock wave can penetrate deep into injured tissues, improving blood flow and stimulating the growth of new blood vessels.  No other type of treatment has been clinically shown to stimulate the growth of blood vessels, essential to healing.

What are the benefits of shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy has been proven to:

  • Quickly reduce pain
  • Reduce/eliminate the need for medication
  • Avoid surgery and anesthesia
  • Produce no side effects
  • Have no risk of allergies
  • Accelerate healing
  • Effectively treat chronic conditions that have failed to respond to other treatment
  • Stimulate the generation of new blood vessels

How does shockwave therapy work?

The Focused Shock Wave device generates high energy sound waves.  These high energy peaks used in Shockwave therapy interact with tissue causing accelerated tissue repair and cell growth, analgesia and restoration of mobility.

  • New Blood Vessel Formation – Nutrient blood flow is necessary to start and maintain the repair processes of damaged tissue. The application of acoustic waves creates microscopic capillary regrowth in damaged tendon, ligament, bone and muscle.
  • Reversal of Chronic Inflammation – Mast cells are one of the key components of the inflammatory process. Their activity may be increased by using focused sound waves.
  • Stimulation of Collagen Production – Collagen cells are the building blocks within the body.  The production of a sufficient amount of collagen is a necessary precondition for the repair processes of the damaged musculoskeletal and ligamentous tissues. Shockwave therapy accelerates the production of new collagen cells in the area of injury.
  • Dissolution of Calcified Fibroblasts – All injuries are healed by the creation of scar tissue.  When the body is injured, a chemical called fibrinogen is released which stimulates cells called fibroblasts to start building scar tissue.  Sometimes this process can also lead to abnormal deposits of calcium within the healing tissues.  Calcium build-up is most often the result of micro-tears or other trauma to a tendon. Acoustic waves break up the calcium deposits (similar to how lithotripsy can break up kidney stones).
  • Dispersion of Pain Mediator “Substance P” – Substance P is a chemical (neurotransmitter) that causes pain by stimulating pain sensitive nerve endings. Pain is the body’s way of signaling that something in the body is wrong.  Sometimes; however, this chemical is generally associated with intense, persistent and chronic pain.
  • Release of Trigger Points – Trigger points are the principal cause of pain in the back, neck, shoulder, and limbs. Focused, high-energy sound waves can unblock the pathways that can cause muscle spasm and thus reverses the metabolic congestion in the muscle fibers and release the trigger points.

What to expect for a shockwave therapy treatment

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment. The application is simple and easy. 

  1. Location of the area to be treated – The area to be treated is located during the clinical examination to deliver the therapy precisely to the area of injury.
  2. Gel application – A small amount of gel is applied to the area. The use of gel is necessary to transfer the sound waves efficiently and smoothly.
  3. Treatment – The Shockwave applicator is slightly pushed against the area.  The device will emit a “clicking” sound as the pulses are delivered.  The intensity of the pulses is adjusted to the patient’s tolerance.  Most patients describe feeling a “deep ache” in the treatment area.  This sensation indicates we are over the target and the ache goes away right away.  Oddly enough, patients often describe the sensation as a “good ache.”  

Contact Joint Effort Physical Therapy today to find out more about our shockwave therapy and how we can aid you in your recovery process.