NEW Shockwave Therapy


We are pleased to announce that here at North Cornwall Physiotherapy we are now offering one of the most modern therapies that support soft tissue healing - Extracorporeal Radial Shockwave therapy (ESWT) or Shockwave Therapy for short.


What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive, safe treatment using sound waves or sound energy to support soft tissue healing(1)


How can Shockwave Therapy help me?


Soft tissue injuries particularly tendinopathy injuries account for a large proportion of injuries experienced by people in the general population (ref and statistics). A tendinopathy is a process whereby the connective tissue structure of a tendon denatures or degenerates or changes its structure in response to repetitive over-loading. The actual mechanic of how or why this occurs is still not completely understood but it is thought to be more common in people with other medical conditions e.g diabetes.


These tendinopathies can include the following:

• Patella tendinopathy

• Achilles tendinopathy

• Tennis Elbow

• Golfers elbow

• Greater trochanter pain syndrome (lateral hip pain)

• Rotator cuff tendinopathy

• Hamstring tendinopathy

• Plantar fasciitis or Policemans heel


These chronic injuries are common in every day life related to sporting activities or daily repetitive movements. Often they can cause significant pain, stiffness and disability in performing daily tasks.


Historically they have been challenging to treat, taking a lot of rehabilitation and time to repair and often treatments have involved more invasive therapies such as steroid injection therapy or surgery which come with their inevitable risks and potential complications.


Did you know that shockwave therapy was originally invented to treat kidney stones without surgery?


It was discovered that using powerful sound energy or sound waves kidney stones could be broken down and dispersed and passed out of the body. Then it was discovered that this type of sound energy also had a beneficial effect on soft tissue healing in the body and it is now used in many different settings including orthopaedics, urology, dermatology (wound and skin healing) and even with animals such as race horses.


How Does Shockwave Therapy work?


Shockwave therapy uses a wave of sound energy similar to the sound wave of a sonic boom of a fast jet when it breaks the sound barrier or the boom of thunder. These sound waves stimulate and support the body’s natural healing processes therefore can significantly increase the healing time of many soft tissue injuries (3). It does this by the following effects:


1. Induces an inflammatory mediated healing process

2. Supports stimulation of the fibroblasts and osteoblasts, the cells responsible for rebuilding injured tissues

3. Stimulates the production and remodelling of collagen - the basic building blocks of our soft tissues and


connective tissues

4. Modulates pain - has an anlagesic effect (5)


Does Shockwave Therapy replace Rehabilitation?


Shockwave is a great support but not a replacement for rehabilitation. Yes you still need to do your exercises! It can support with reducing pain and improving healing rate which makes exercises and rehab much easier and less painful and research shows it works best when combined with a good rehabilitation program. Again a well trained and experienced Physiotherapist will be able to prescribe and guide someone through the rehabilitation process(2).


It is important to know that shockwave therapy is not a magic wand and a course of treatment usually 3-5 sessions is often required followed by 2-3 months of rehabilitation to fully correct the problem.


Is Shockwave Therapy safe?


Shockwave therapy is completely non-invasive and when applied safely and appropriately by a trained health professional has no adverse side-effects. This makes it an ideal alternative to injections or surgery (4).


Many studies have been done on its use and there have been no major safety concerns. It has been approved by the FDA in the US and NICE in the UK for use in musculoskeletal therapy and is recognised and approved by major insurance companies including BUPA.


Want to find out More?


If you are struggling with chronic tendon pain and would like some support with this then feel free to give us a call or drop us an email and our Physiotherapist, Andrew Mooney will be happy to discuss your situation and possible treatment options further.


References:

1. https://www.shockwavetherapy.eu/subpage

2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/physiotherapy/how-it-works/

3. d,Agostino et al (2015) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26612525/

4. Schmitz et al (2015) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26585999/

5. Vallance and Malliaras (2019) ESWT of Healthy Achilles Tendons Results in Conditioned Pain Modulatory Effect: A Randomised Exploratory Cross-Over Trail; Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal 2019, 9(2).



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