What Is Shockwave Therapy?
Therapeutic shockwaves were introduced as medical treatment over 20 years ago. Shockwaves are caused by a high-energy wave. This wave has an extremely short build up time and high amplitude.
Radial pressure waves are pulses generated by compressed air, which deliver focused shock waves to the body. The compressed air is used to drive a projectile in a cylinder, located inside the hand piece, to a shock transmitter. Radial pressure waves offer a noninvasive treatment solution to long term insertion and soft tissue pathologies. Local treatment in the affected area will support and reset the healing pattern.
At Leonard Gentin and Associates Podiatrists, we use Storz equipment designed specifically for orthopedic use. It ensures a gentle and efficient treatment with pneumatically (compressed) generated shockwaves, which are transmitted into the area of pain through a handpiece.
Physical Effects of Shockwave
- Pain Reduction
The patient experiences a reduction of pain, explained by the Gate Control Theory. Intense pulses from the transmitter into the tissues create a strong nociceptor activation of the alpha-beta fibers, which affect interneurons that inhibit the transmission of the pain signals.
- Increased Metabolism
Shockwave influences the tissues on a cellular level. The chemical environment of the cells is affected by free radicals promoting the release of pain and inflammatory inhibiting substances.
Repeated shockwaves to the affected area create a revascularisation effect, with the new blood flow in the area promoting tissue healing and regeneration.
- Reduced Muscle Tone
The “vicious circle”, as well as the strong pathological association between pain and muscle tone, will be broken and lead to restoring a normalised muscular tone.
Reasons for Shockwave Therapy
The majority of treatment programs are for what we commonly refer to as “insertional tendenopathies”. Areas of Targets for treatment include:
- Soft Tissue
- Connective Tissue
- Muscles with Trigger Points
- Increased Tension
In many cases shockwave treatment gives excellent results in order to dissolve calcification.