How Shockwave Therapy Can Help Your Pain : A Treatment Revolution and the Success in Clinic
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment which works by delivering impulses of energy or shock waves to an injured area to aid healing by increasing blood flow to the affected tissue. The reduction in pain and improvement in healing that occurs allows symptoms to reduce and for you to become more active.
Recently, its effectiveness has been evidently increasing and its use on problematic issues such as plantar fasciitis, tennis/golfers elbow, rotator cuff tendinitis and achilles tendinopathy is proving increasingly successful. Shockwave’s benefits have been reflected in clinical research and as its popularity grows, so does its use throughout the medical and therapy community with rising numbers of success stories.
This blog aims to educate you about the recent research in relation to common problems and how a course of treatment with shockwave can help you reduce your pain and become more active. Take a look at what the latest evidence is saying for each of the most common conditions and how shockwave helps to improve pain and function.
Plantar Fasciitis (PF) is commonly described as heel pain located on the bottom of the heel and inside part of the foot along the length of the plantar fascia tendon. PF occurs when the tendon cannot deal with the load being placed upon it and as a result it becomes painful. Microscopic tears develop in the tendon and then this becomes difficult to heal due to constant weight bearing through the tendon.
What the research says:
In a 2018 UK based study (Maffulli et al) using NHS and private patents on 198 people it was shown that there was a significant improvement in mobility, pain and usual activity levels following a course of shockwave treatment.
Golfers and tennis elbow are the same condition – the tendon attachments either side of the elbow can become overloaded with an increase in activity causing the tendons to develop pain. Golfers elbow refers to the medial elbow and tennis elbow refers to the outside or lateral part of the elbow. Symptoms are typical with grip, lift and pull type movements of the wrist and elbow.
What the research says:
Again, Maffulli et al 2018, report that significant improvement was shown in the treatment of tennis elbow symptoms with 59 participants looking at pain levels and general function in daily activities.
Achilles tendinopathy is a common problem for runners and especially with people over 30 years of age. The cause of this issue is typically people increasing their running or exercise amounts too quickly or starting to exercise again after a long period of not exercising. The tendon cannot cope with the new demand placed upon it and it becomes symptomatic.
What the research says:
A 2016 review of the evidence by NICE (national institute for health and care excellence) shows positive results in reducing pain levels and improving function in achilles tendinopathy within a 3 month follow up period. It is recommended to supplement this with an appropriate rehab and exercise plan as well.
Rotator Cuff Tendinitis
Shoulder pain is a prevalent in the UK throughout all ages within the population. Rotator cuff tendinitis can typically give symptoms of shoulder pain, weakness and dysfunction. The tendons of the shoulder become inflamed and can also incur inflammation and degenerative changes within older patients.
What does the research say:
In a 2017 piece of research Wei Li et al showed positive results for 42 people who were diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinitis, treated with shockwave on reducing their pain levels and improving their shoulder function. The patients on this trial had 5 treatments with 3 days between each treatment.
Shockwave is not suitable for the following:
- Blood clotting disorder (including thrombosis)
- If you are taking oral anti-coagulants / blood thinners
- If you have received a Steroid injection within 6 weeks
- Pacemaker fitted
- Tumours near treatment site
- Skin infection or abrasion
- Under 18’s (except treatment of Osgood-Schlatter disease)
At MSK sports injury clinic in Westerhope, Newcastle – we have the latest technology in a Storz MP50 Venn Healthcare ESWT machine.
When receiving shockwave therapy, a gel will be applied over the affected site and the probe will be applied. The probe is pressed on to the skin and sends shockwaves through the tissue that is being treated, and helps initiate the body to respond naturally by increasing circulation of blood, the number of blood vessels and initiating a healing response.
Shockwave treatment is not painful but may be slightly uncomfortable as the waves can be felt as pulses while it is being administered. Treatments will not last longer than 20 minutes and you will need a course of treatments to help your problem.
All of our clinicians are fully trained with experience of shockwave therapy so they can help you achieve your goals and reduce your pain. Shockwave is great for a range of problems including tennis and golfers elbow, heel pain and achilles issues. If you have a stubborn problem which has not responded to traditional forms of treatment or exercise in the past then shockwave therapy could be the perfect solution.
Shockwave Therapy also treat regular muscle aches and pains and with a clinically proven success rate of between 70-80%, this treatment is very much in demand
If you think shockwave treatment may be beneficial for you – get in touch with the clinic to discuss your symptoms and we can advise you if this treatment would be right for you. Alternatively visit our dedicated shockwave page (link below) on our website to read more or to book an appointment online.