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Shockwave Therapy FAQs

Posted on 7th October 2020 by

Here at goPhysio, we are able to offer and provide Shockwave Therapy (a.k.a. Extracorpeal Shockwave Therapy or ECSWT, ESWT, SWT or Shockwave), as an integral part of your treatment plan.

Many research studies have shown that Shockwave Therapy simulates new healthy tissue growth and is among the most effective treatments available today for stubborn soft tissue injuries like Achilles Tendonopathy, Tennis Elbow and Plantar Fasciitis.

Here we answer some of your most frequently asked questions about SWT.

How does shockwave therapy work?

Shockwave Therapy is a safe, non-invasive procedure that is an effective treatment if you are suffering from tendon, muscle or joint disorders. It’s a genuine alternative to steroid injections or surgery.

The shockwave machine, produces ‘energy waves’ which are targeted to the injured tissues, bringing about it’s beneficial effects. It is a mechanical wave, not an electric one. The mechanical waves kicks off inflammation in the area. In turn, the body responds by increasing blood flow to that area which accelerates the body’s own natural healing process. The shock waves can also break down injured tissue and calcifications.

The shockwave therapy stimulates the body’s natural self-healing process, helping you recover faster. It is particularly effective when used to treat long standing conditions, conditions that continue to re-occur or conditions that have not been successfully managed through traditional treatment methods.

What sort of people can shockwave therapy help?

  • Have you had a stubborn injury like Plantar Fasciitis, Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow or Achilles Tendonopathy pain for some time?
  • Have you tried lot’s of other things yourself, other treatments, resting or gadgets, but nothing has worked?
  • Is your issue stopping you doing lot’s of the things you’d normally enjoy?
  • Are you facing a steroid injection or maybe even surgery?

If so, shockwave therapy could be for you.

The most recognised conditions that shockwave therapy can help include:

  • Plantar Fasciitis (Read the NICE Guidelines here)
  • Achilles Tendinopathy (Read the NICE Guidelines here)
  • Golfers Elbow (medial Epicondylitis)
  • Tennis Elbow (lateral Epicondylitis) (Read the NICE Guidelines here)
  • Calcific Tendinopathy
  • Trochanteric Bursitis
  • Other tendonopathies, including patellar, biceps and rotator cuff

Is the treatment painful?

You will definitely feel the treatment. Some people experience pain but this is tolerable. Following the treatment, you may experience redness, bruising, swelling and numbness to the area. But this will improve within a few days and these are all normal reactions to the treatment.

How many sessions will I need?

The research backed protocols outline that most conditions will require 3-6 sessions of shockwave therapy. Additional sessions may be required if the condition is very long standing.

You will get most benefit if the sessions are spaced out weekly.

At goPhysio, shockwave treatment is included in your physiotherapy appointment fee (most places charge £100’s extra for this treatment). So, you get the unique benefit of ensuring your recovery is enhanced with the combined approach of SWT and physio.

What happens during a session?

Initially you will have a thorough assessment by one of our Physiotherapists to ascertain if Shockwave Therapy is the most appropriate treatment for your injury. Our unique approach means that we will combine Shockwave with other appropriate treatments to make sure you make a full recovery.

During a Shockwave treatment, your Physiotherapist will find the location of the pain by searching for painful points. Some gel is applied to the skin, which improves the contact between the skin and the hand piece, to allow the shockwaves to penetrate the body properly. 

The Shockwave therapy machine is used to deliver a series of acoustic wave pulsations directly to the site of your injury. The treatment itself can be a little painful, although this is tolerable.

The actual treatment time spent receiving the shockwave therapy is typically less than fifteen minutes. However, your treatment sessions will also include education, advice and an appropriate post treatment plan from our experienced Clinicians to further support your recovery.

Are there any side effects to be aware of?

You need to be aware that there are some potential side effects of Shockwave. You may experience:

  • Pain & discomfort – This can occur during or after treatment & usually subsides within 1-2 days.
  • Transient skin reddening and/or bruising at the treatment site.
  • Transient minor skin irritation or damage at the treatment site.
  • Temporary numbness in the area.

These are all normal reactions that indicate your natural healing process has been stimulated.

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