Shock wave therapy (also known as extracorporeal shock wave) is a cutting edge form of treatment in the world of sports medicine. Its a very similar technology to that used to “blast” kidney and gallstones, and does not involve electrical shocks (don’t panic, this isn’t the dark ages) but rather mechanical pulses, similar to sound waves.
Although the physiological mechanism of how exactly this mechanical pulse works is still not fully understood, the research shows us that the “waves” cause microtrauma and inflammation, stimulating the formation of new blood vessels and nerve cells, and speeding up healing of tissue. There is also a positive effect on reducing pain through a pain gate mechanism.
In other words, it improves blood supply and speeds up tissue regeneration!
So why is this so amazing you ask?
Well basically its taking something the body would normally do on its own, and speeds it up significantly, without the need for injections or surgery. Numerous medical research reports have shown that shockwave therapy can be 80-90% effective at completely and rapidly resolving injuries within 3-6 applications.
The most significant application in sports medicine is in the treatment of chronic tendon, muscle and joint conditions. So things like:
- Tennis elbow/ Golfers elbow
- Rotator cuff tendinopathy
- Frozen Shoulder
- Trochanteric Bursitis
- Hamstring tendinopathy
- Achilles tendinpathy
- Patella tendinopathy
- Plantar fasciitis
- Muscle knots and trigger points
- ITB friction syndrome
- Chronic ligament pain
- And even more conditions are healing in weeks instead of months…
It is particularly effective in breaking down the calcification of tendons, commonly seen in the shoulders, as can be seen in the x-rays below…
As technology and techniques improve, so will we find new uses for shock wave therapy. In fact, I chatted to a Doctor at one of the top SA rugby teams, who said they use shock wave to treat nearly all injuries on their players and are getting fantastic results.
Already studies show that in bone fractures that either wont heal quickly, or at all, the application of a single shock wave treatment was effective in causing fracture healing in 87% of patients.
It also has applications in the healing of diabetic foot ulcers, treating cardiac chest pain and erectile dysfunction…but don’t come to me for that!
So if you, or anyone you know has one of the above conditions, give us a call to see if Shock Wave Therapy might be the treatment for you…
BY: Riccardo Vaccaro
Ankle injuries, Elbow injuries, General Health/Fitness, Knee injuries, Shoulder injuries