Shockwave Therapy

What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shock Wave Therapy is a non-invasive procedure often used to treat injured bones, joints, muscles, tendons and other soft tissues. With no need for painkillers, shock wave therapy can offer fast pain relief and aid recovery for a range of chronic conditions including:

  • Repetitive strain injury (RSI)
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (a.k.a Shin Splints)
  • Hamstring issues
  • Any other chronic soft-tissue
  • Joint conditions causing long-term pain

How Does Shock Wave Therapy work?

Shockwave therapy is delivered directly onto the affected area via a ‘generator’ or device. Low-energy acoustic waves penetrate the skin and treat the immediate area.

Most treatments are applied by a therapist using a hand-held device that turns compressed air into low-energy sound waves. Light pressure is applied, and the device is moved across the damaged areas that require treatment.

Shock wave therapy has two main ‘modes of action’ that can help with persistent pain.

Firstly, the shock waves work to ‘desensitise’ nerve endings, which can immediately reduce pain in the local area. Secondly, the waves stimulate blood flow in the area, causing a small amount of localised inflammation.

In the days immediately following the treatment, the body naturally tries to heal the inflammation. In doing so, it encourages the regeneration of cells, repairs damaged tissue, and reduces pain.

shockwave therapy machine

Shock wave therapy can also help with issues related to scar tissue. Because scar tissue is much denser and less elastic than normal tissue, sound waves can help break it down, improving mobility and reducing discomfort.

Similarly, the waves can break down ‘disorganised’ tissue or any build-up. While these sound waves are radial, they should not be confused with the types of shock wave therapy typically available - radial and focused.

Radial Wave Therapy is the most common type of shock wave therapy. However, Focused Wave Therapy is growing in popularity due to the treatment options, depth and precision it can offer in acute cases.

Below, we explore some of the differences between Radial Shock Wave Therapy (RSWT) and Focused Shock Wave Therapy (FSWT). First, we must understand what they are.

shockwave before after

What is Focused Shock Wave Therapy?

focused shockwave

Focused shock wave therapy – sometimes known as Focused Shockwaves – can provide more depth penetration for deeper tissue than radial waves, focusing its output into more localised, deeper areas.  

These types of waves are generated by a coil, which creates magnetic fields when a current is applied. This generates a pressure wave that can move through the medium without losing energy in a focused zone.

Fortunately, the site of actual wave generation experiences a minimal impact, limiting the damage to surface skin and underlying soft tissues.

While radial waves are applied all over a local area, FSWT is only applied at defined points within the body, which can be adapted depending on the required depth.

In some cases, focused shock wave therapy is used in conjunction with radial therapy – typically when a patient’s pain levels can’t tolerate radial wave therapy or could benefit from a hybrid approach.

If you are unsure whether shockwave therapy is right for you, book an appointment with one of our practitioners, and they can assess your injury and advise whether this could benefit you.

Want to know more about Shockwave Therapy or to book an appointment? Enter your details below and a member of our team will contact you to discuss your requirements.
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