What is Shockwave Therapy?
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) or Shockwave Therapy as it more commonly known, is a non-invasive evidence-based treatment, which works by delivering impulses of acoustic sound wave energy into the tissues of the body. In physiotherapy, it is used in the treatment of chronic tendon pain and injuries (tendinopathy) that aren’t responding to other treatments.
Tendinopathy is a problem that can occur within certain tendons in the body resulting in the “degeneration” of the tendon fibres. This is usually associated with significant pain, tenderness to touch, swelling of the tendon and a notable reduction in the tendon’s tolerance to activity. The main causes of tendinopathy are overuse injuries or repetitive movements or activities. Sudden increases in activity can also result in tendinopathy. Tendinopathy can respond to physiotherapy and exercise but when it doesn’t Shockwave is the preferred treatment modality and can really help.
How does it work?
Shockwave therapy works in several ways to help chronic tendinopathy. Firstly, the shockwaves provide immediate pain relief to the painful area. They do this by desensitising the nerve endings within the tendon. This makes daily activities more tolerable and makes performing your rehabilitation exercises much easier.
Secondly, and most importantly, the shockwaves help to kick-start the body’s own healing process which, in chronic tendinopathy, has often slowed right down or even stalled. They do this by causing controlled micro-trauma (microscopic damage) to the tissues which encourages the body to respond by increasing the blood circulation and metabolism in the affected area.
The most important thing to know about Shockwave Therapy is that it will not work in isolation (it is not a stand-alone treatment). Reducing pain and kick-starting a stalled healing response is one thing, but without a structured loading and rehabilitation program designed by one of our physiotherapists, the tendon will not repair, and the pain will return.
Shockwave Therapy is used extensively in the NHS and is approved by the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE).
Who is it for?
Shockwave is effective in helping treat the following conditions:
What are the benefits?
The benefits of Shockwave Therapy are:
How much does Shockwave Therapy cost?
For Shockwave Therapy to be effective, you will need a minimum of 4 sessions, given weekly. Some more chronic conditions may require up to 6 sessions. Your physiotherapist will be able to recommend the best package of care for you.
In most cases you will need to have a comprehensive assessment with one of our physiotherapists prior to commencing any Shockwave Therapy (unless you are being referred to us specifically for Shockwave Therapy by another clinician). Our team can help with any enquiries you may have.