Shockwave therapy is something that has been talked about more and more in the area of alternative health and pain management recently. Shockwave therapy can be an extremely effective treatment for a variety of conditions, so let’s take a look at the 3 main benefits of shockwave therapy.
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Before we dive into the benefits, you may be wondering what exactly is shockwave therapy? Shockwave therapy is an evidence-based therapy involving low energy acoustic wave pulsations (shockwaves) applied to an injury. This therapy is done through the skin near or over top of the injury site.
Shockwave therapy has been proven effective for a variety of injuries and chronic conditions by stimulating the body’s natural healing response at the area of concern. It is often a therapy offered by physiotherapists, podiatrists/chiropodists, and chiropractors, though other health professionals can be trained to administer shockwave therapy.
What Conditions Does Shockwave Treat?
Shockwave can effectively treat a number of chronic conditions and injuries including:
- Foot conditions – plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, tendonitis.
- Tennis or golfers elbow
- Calcification of the rotator cuff (tendonosis).
- Tendonitis of the knee.
- Shin splints
- Chronic back pain
Non-Invasive Treatment for Chronic Pain Conditions
Shockwave can be a great non-invasive treatment option for chronic pain conditions that often impact the patient’s day-to-day life and functioning. If you suffer from certain chronic pain conditions such as the ones listed above, consult with a healthcare practitioner that offers shockwave therapy such as Delta Physiotherapy & Rehab before considering surgical or more invasive treatment options such as cortisone shots.
In some cases, shockwave treatment may delay or eliminate the need for further, more invasive treatment options. The results of shockwave therapy can vary, but you may find that the treatment resolves your pain or decreases it enough to talk to your doctor about stopping or decreasing your use of pain medication if you were using it to manage the pain of the condition treated.
Cost-Effective Treatment Option
Shockwave is a cost-effective treatment option for injuries and chronic pain conditions, most insurance will also cover shockwave therapy when performed by healthcare professionals such as a physiotherapist. This means that trying shockwave therapy before exploring other, more invasive treatment options is an easy choice.
Shockwave therapy, depending on severity and type of condition being treated, only takes 4-6 treatments, typically spread about a week apart. The fairly short amount of treatments means you don’t lose out on too much money or time if you find the treatment doesn’t work for you or only provides some relief.
Minimal Side Effects
Unlike other treatment options like cortisone shots, surgery, or certain medications – shockwave therapy produces minimal if any side effects. Some people report tenderness or swelling for a few days post-treatment but this is due to the natural healing response stimulated by the treatment. This soreness and swelling are temporary and will decrease in a few hours or a few days. You shouldn’t take any anti-inflammatories after treatment to encourage the healing process.
Unlike surgery, cortisone shots, or certain medications, the minimal side effects mean that you can return to your regular work and other activities immediately after shockwave treatment.
Who Shouldn’t Get Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave is considered generally safe for most people, however, you shouldn’t get shockwave therapy if:
- You have a blood clotting disorder.
- Are taking blood-thinning medication.
- Are pregnant.
- Have a pacemaker.
- Have recently received steroid injections or are taking steroid medication.
- Have an infection, cut, or wound at the location of the injury.
- Have a tumor at or near the site of injury.
As with any treatment, always consult with your doctor and trained healthcare professional before starting a new treatment, they are the best judge of your health status and safety of treatment for you.
In addition to these contraindications, most places restrict shockwave therapy to those over the age of 18, however that restriction can vary depending on the location and certain health factors.
Shockwave therapy is a cost-effective and non-invasive treatment option for a number of common chronic pain conditions and injuries. This therapy is a more conservative treatment option to explore before patients consider invasive procedures such as surgery or shots and medications such as cortisone which may come with more side effects.
Physiotherapists, chiropractors, podiatrists/chiropodists and a number of other health practitioners can be trained to offer shockwave therapy, seek out a clinic or practitioner that is knowledgeable and can assess your specific condition to determine if shockwave is right for you.
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