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What is it?
“Extracorporeal shockwave therapy is a non-evasive, non-electrical, high energy sound wave that passes through the soft tissue via a hand-held gun-like attachment. The sound wave combines with a pressure wave to create a unique treatment that breaks down scar tissue and boosts circulation and collagen production. This promotes renewed recovery, healthier tissue and more efficient muscles, tendons and ligaments.”
What Does This Mean?
- Extracorporeal = 'outside the skin'
- Non-evasive = 'does not pierce the skin or enter any orifice'
Shockwave is similar to ultrasound in the type of energy that is being directed through your skin.
A sound wave has a high frequency (higher than we can hear) and we alter the amplitude (or pressure) to create a different intensity of treatment.
This wave interacts with your cells within your muscle, tendon or ligament and causes them to vibrate. This movement boosts circulation to the area. The higher the amplitude (or pressure) the more these cells vibrate - eventually they break down and are processed by your body's 'waste management' lymphatic system. We target old cells and scar tissue within shockwave therapy.
The process is pro-inflammatory, meaning that the treatment stirs everything up and annoys the area to boost your body's natural inflammatory response.
What is Shockwave For?
How Does It Feel/what to Expect?
We place some ultrasound gel on the treatment site which can be a little chilly! You will hear a loud clicking sound when the treatment has started.
Most patients feel a tapping sensation which varies from barely noticeable to quite heavy, depending on the location of the treatment and the issue being treated. Some patients also feel a slight stinging or pinching sensation, this is normal and is linked to how close bone is to the treatment site.
Treatment usually lasts between 2 and 5 minutes (depending on the frequency we select for your injury).
Each injury will require 3 to 6 sessions, these are repeated between 3 and 10 days apart.
Am I allowed to have shockwave?
Due to the nature of shockwave as a pro-inflammatory treatment there are a few cases where it would not be advised.
You must not have shockwave if you:
Shockwave Therapy is always used as part of a treatment process. You will be assessed and diagnosed and the treatment options explained to you. If you and your injury are eligible you will be recommended shockwave by your therapist.
Typically in each treatment will include assessment, soft tissue work, shockwave, occasionally acupuncture, and rehabilitation exercises.