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Shockwave Therapy: Meaning, Benefits, & Treatment

Shockwave Therapy: Meaning, Benefits, & Treatment


Tired of trying multiple treatments for Musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions and still not receiving promising results?

Then Shockwave Therapy might be an alternative worth trying. Shockwave therapy is a unique treatment carried out by professional physiotherapists to deal with a number of ailments.

This blog explains the meaning of shockwave therapy, its influential benefits, conditions that can be treated using shockwave therapy. Make sure you read to the bottom so you may know everything that you need to know.

What is Radial Shockwave Therapy?


Shockwave therapy is often referred to as extracorporeal shockwave therapy or radial shockwave is a therapy utilized widely around the globe. Shockwave therapy is extensively put to use in physiotherapy, urology, veterinary medicine, orthopedics, and podiatry. It uses acoustic sound waves that carry high energy to the desired spot in the body. It promotes the healing process of the injury.

The prime reason for shockwave therapy’s popularity is because it takes a non-surgical approach to treat a great number of conditions. This also means that you’ll not need any painkillers or such medications. While offering you maximum pain relief, better recovery, and mobility. 

How does shockwave therapy work?


What was the first thing that come to your mind when you heard about Shockwave Therapy? Yes, many people assume that shockwave therapy involves giving patients an actual shock, not correct. 

Radial Shockwave Therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy uses high-pressure sound waves followed by low amplitude, short duration. These shockwaves travel rapidly and the process doesn’t produce any thermal effect. A gel is applied to the targeted areas which act as a medium; allowing your body to absorb the waves. 

A special probe called a radial shockwave machine is used to apply the shockwaves to the affected areas. It is recommended for anyone suffering from chronic pain and similar conditions. These sound waves cause minor trauma or new inflammatory condition in the targeted area. This automatically triggers your body’s natural healing reaction which was previously held off. Not just this but shockwaves also offers an array of health benefits. 

Moreover, it doesn’t require any anesthetics or needles or something, thus you can continue with your daily activities after the treatment almost immediately.

Benefits of shockwave therapy

New Blood Vessel Formation


Healthy blood flow is needed for proper maintenance, and repair of any damaged tissue structures. The fresh blood along with oxygen will help remove waste, improve tissue health, and speed up the recovery time. 

A study conducted to determine the effects of shockwave therapy concluded that angiogenesis (the process of new blood vessel formation) is significantly boosted after shockwave therapy. When acoustic waves are applied to the bone and tendon it results in capillary micro ruptures. This signals the body to pump up growth factors. 

All such processes allow migration, growth, and formation of new blood vessels in the body.

Stimulation of Collagen Production


Collagen is a protein found in your bones, muscles, and blood. It is responsible for keeping joints healthy, skin elasticity, and much more. Moreover, collagen is a third of the protein present in your body. Unfortunately, the existing collagen in your body breaks down and its production is dropped as you age, many other conditions also affect the production.

Damaged ligament and musculoskeletal structures require an adequate amount of collagen to initiate and continue the repair process. Lack of collagen will hinder the repair process. Procollagen synthesis is accelerated by shockwave therapy. Moreover, shockwave therapy forces these newly formed collagen fibers into a structure that makes newly created tendon fibers extra dense and stiff. 

Dissolution of Calcified Fibroblasts


Fibroblast is a type of cell present in connective tissue. It secretes collagen proteins that are responsible for maintaining structural integrity for tissues. Due to several reasons, it can get calcified, meaning the build-up of calcium around it. The most common causes are micro-tears and trauma to tendons, this results in calcified fibroblasts. Shockwave therapy helps to dissolve them, the acoustic waves break the already present calcifications. Firstly with the help of shockwave therapy, the biochemical decalcification of the calcium begins. The left granular particles of calcium are then removed by your lymphatic system!

Dispersion of Pain Mediator “Substance P”


Ever wondered how quickly your brain reacts whenever you feel pain on any part of the body. Well, our body is filled with various chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. They’re responsible for transmitting messages from neurons to muscles or neurons to neurons.

Substance P is one such neurotransmitter that mediates pain information through C-fibers. These are afferent fibers, meaning they convey the signal to the nervous system. This message is what makes you experience and feel the pain as your brain is constantly sent signals of pain. Reduced concentration of Substance P decreases the afferent nociceptive fibers which in turn reduce pain! Decreasing Substance P and other nociceptive metabolites help in pain relief. Pain after shockwave therapy is impressively reduced with the help of acoustic waves as it lessens Substance P concentration.

Release of Trigger Points


Trigger points are the principal cause of pain in the back, neck, shoulder, and limbs. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers and have extremely contracted sarcomeres. The dysfunctional sarcomeres contract so tightly that they begin to cut off their own blood supply. This causes the waste products to build up. Waste product build-up irritates the sensory nerve endings which then causes even more contraction. This vicious cycle is referred to as “metabolic crisis”. The assumed mechanism of action is that the delivered acoustic energy unblocks the calcium pump and thus reverses the metabolic crisis in the myofilaments and releases the trigger points.

What conditions does it treat?


Physiotherapy addresses numerous conditions and offers great relief to patients. Some conditions can be more serious to others, likewise, one or multiple physiotherapy treatments are taken into consideration. Radial shockwave therapy alleviates pain and can be used to treat these conditions:

  • Heel spurs and Achilles tendonitis
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Tennis elbow
  • Jumper’s knee
  • Bone marrow edema
  • Insertional pain
  • Painful joints
  • Hip and back pain
  • Non-union fractures
  • Gluteal Tendinopathy
  • Trigger points in the muscle
  • Patellofemoral Tendinopathy
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Shoulder pain

Shockwave Therapy in Hamilton


Shockwave therapy is a long-term and simplest approach that can be taken for pain relief. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment for your ailment that quickly shows effectiveness without causing any pain, unlike any other therapy treatment. You won’t even need painkillers as the therapy will barely cause you any pain!

Moreover, shockwave therapy is performed in a few easy steps, although you should keep a few things in mind before seeking it. You might experience slight pain during the treatment, once the treatment is over you’ll experience pain relief. 

If you’re looking for shockwave therapy in Hamilton then the professional physiotherapists at Innova Physio & Sports Rehab might be your best option out there. Shockwave therapy here will be carried out in 3 simple steps, and you may bid farewell to your pain or other treatable conditions!

Don’t let your painful condition affect how you live your life, let the experts and science help you get over it and enjoy a peaceful existence. Visit Innova Physio & Sports Rehab today or book an appointment.


Author - Denish Tamakuwala

Denish Tamakuwala is a Physiotherapist and Clinic Director at Innova Physio. He is a Registered Physiotherapist with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy from the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science. He obtained a Diploma degree (honours) in Fitness & Health Promotion from Humber College. He possesses extensive knowledge and practical experience in therapy and rehabilitation treatment. Apart from assisting his patients through physiotherapy, he loves to compose informational articles to educate the mass.