What is shockwave therapy?
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ECSWT) is a non-surgical and non-invasive treatment for musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries. Extracorporeal shockwaves are pressure waves that are high in energy and generated acoustically outside of the body. These waves can be directed toward a targeted tissue to generate a physical, chemical and or biological response whether that to reduce pain, accelerate healing or restart the healing process.
ECSWT is considered to provide pain relief by reducing the concentration of substance P in the tissue which can last or up to 6 weeks. This is thought to take place following initial hyperstimulation of pain fibres to later allow for the inhibition of excessive excitement of nerve cells by reducing the synthesis of the substance P. It is also considered that shockwave can be used to reestablish or destroy nerve signals that were not transmitting correctly.
ECSWT is thought also to be used to accelerate healing or restimulate the healing process by stimulating tendon cell metabolism to stimulate fibroblasts to lay down more normal collagen and matrix within the tendon, increasing positive biochemical growth factors, changing inflammation and or changing blood flow to initiate a tendon healing or repair process.
Who is ECSWT for?
ECSWT may be considered as an adjunctive treatment alongside rehabilitation for any patient whose symptoms have not responded to a progressive Physiotherapy lead rehabilitation programme over a considerable timeframe. Many other adjunctive therapies coinciding with rehabilitation efforts such as massage can help manage symptoms in particular in the early stages however are considered less effective for persistent soft tissue related injuries such as tendinopathy. ECSWT treatment should not be used for those who have not tried first-line management strategies, have an active infection, pregnancy or are adolescents.
Commonly Musculoskeletal conditions treated with ECSWT:
- Plantar fasciopathy/fasciitis
- Heel Spurs
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Shoulder Calcific tendinosis
- Lateral epicondylitis/(Tennis elbow)
- Patella tendinopathy/Jumpers knee
- Greater trochanteric pain syndrome
- Proximal hamstring tendinopathy
How will I know ECSWT is suitable for me?
Each patient’s presentation will be assessed by one of our specialist Physiotherapy team on an individual basis. Not only to collaboratively decide whether ECSWT is a clinically reasoned treatment option for you but also how the shockwave would be provided in terms of treatment dosage, intensity and frequency of sessions. Your rehabilitation regime may have to be altered slightly to accommodate this treatment.
If you require any further information regarding our shockwave service please contact us at:
The Physiotherapy Unit
Email: [email protected]
Call: 0207 806 4010