Crash Course on Shockwave Therapy

Despite its name, shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that involves no “shock” at all. Instead, it involves a pneumatic generator that delivers high-density, high-powered sound waves directly to an injury to treat a variety of issues, including tendinitis.

What is shockwave therapy? 
The sound waves in shockwave therapy, (also referred to as extracorporeal shock wave therapy or ESWT), work to stimulate blood flow, speed up the healing process, and break up irritating calcium deposits. Patients will typically experience a deep, vibrating wave. 

It is important to note that shockwave therapy is an effective, safe, and fast treatment. At Synergy Rehab, your therapist will press our handheld device into the affected area to deliver the sound wave. In as little as 3 sessions we have seen our clients start to feel better!


What does shockwave therapy treat?
Several common conditions can be treated successfully with shockwave therapy techniques including tendonitis, tendinopathy, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, shin splints, and stress fractures. It can also be used to help manage issues related to hamstring tightness, shoulder pain, scar tissue, and myofascial trigger points.  


How it helps chronic back pain:

Shock wave therapy encourages a quicker and more efficient healing process than conservative therapy alone by encouraging the body’s natural healing processes. Specifically for chronic back pain originating from muscle injury or active trigger points in the muscles. 

Back pain can be effectively reduced by several biological responses that shock wave therapy is known to produce. These outcomes are connected to an improvement in mobility and a general reduction in discomfort.

Low back pain is typically brought on by soft tissue injuries and mechanical problems. Intervertebral disc injury, nerve root compression, and incorrect spinal joint mobility are a few examples of these injuries.

What does shockwave therapy do? 

  1. Repairs cell tissue – The acoustic wave stimulus has a direct effect on the chemical environment of tissues at a cellular level. It changes and releases free radicals to prevent inflammation.

  2. Increases circulation – The body requires regular blood flow to speed up the healing process. High-energy sound waves generate a revascularization effect, which increases blood circulation into the affected area and boosts the healing and regeneration of soft tissues.

  3. Normalizes muscle tone – Shockwave therapy also works to relax muscle contractions and prevents neuro-cognitive pain associated with chronic conditions. As a result, it can normalize muscle tone and relieve spasms.

  4. Reduces Pain – When applied to specific trigger points, acoustic waves directly affect the nerves responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. Shockwave therapy blocks this communication between the interneurons.

How often does a patient need shockwave therapy treatment?

Most patients need multiple treatments to get the best results from shockwave therapy. Although immediate relief is often experienced after a session, it will not last forever on its own. At Synergy Rehab, our patients typically need at least three shockwave therapy appointments to experience lasting relief. Some require five or more appointments depending on the severity of their pain.

Typically, patients need three to 10 days between each treatment. However, the time between appointments varies depending on how well you tolerate the therapy and your tissue’s response to the shockwaves. This means, someone who has three treatments with three days between them will be done in just over a week, while someone who needs five treatments and takes ten days between them will spend almost two months in treatment.


Synergy Rehab’s Frequently Asked Questions

Is shockwave therapy safe?

Shockwave therapy is extremely safe! It delivers a high-density sound wave directly to your tissues, muscles, and bone that is not invasive or aggravating. It simply stimulates your body’s natural healing processes.


Can it treat plantar fasciitis?

Yes. Shockwave therapy has been proven to be extremely helpful in treating plantar fasciitis. In combination with shockwave therapy, your physiotherapist may recommend other effective treatments such as custom orthotics and intramuscular stimulation (IMS). 


How does shockwave therapy work?

Shockwave therapy works by sending high-density sound waves. They are delivered by a pneumatic generator and the resonant frequency of the sound waves in relation to the targeted tissue breaks up calcium deposits and encourages blood flow. This increased your body’s ability to heal. 


How is shockwave therapy performed?

A physiotherapist uses the handheld device attached to the pneumatic generator and presses it against the area of your body that requires treatment. The tool is moved around in a steady motion to consistently treat the entire area. Treatment takes around 15 minutes.


Schedule an appointment with Synergy Rehab today!

You shouldn’t have to live your life in unnecessary pain. Let our expert therapists determine if you are a candidate for shockwave therapy to resolve your pain. Our pain management doctors are professional, experienced, and compassionate. Contact us for a same-day appointment today to create an individualized treatment plan.