Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions (CMPC) is a common public health problem. Recent studies show that CMPC affects 20% of the adult population worldwide. In turn, this causes a serious economic burden and a high absenteeism rate.

Of the 55% of patients with CMPC who visit their doctors for pain-related problems, including joint disorders and back problems, 40% do not find relief from those visits. When patient satisfaction and well-being aren’t being served, it’s time to think outside the box.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, ESWT, is a promising treatment you may want to add to your medical practice.

It’s a non-invasive therapy that addresses various soft tissue disorders as well as bone defects and even erectile dysfunction.

Read on to learn more about shockwave therapy and how to incorporate it into your medical practice.

What Is Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy? 

ESWT is a non-invasive, non-surgical, out-patient medical treatment. It’s a simple yet effective treatment that delivers high-frequency sound waves directly to afflicted areas of the body.

These shock waves help reduce pain and promote healing, but they can also strengthen muscle tissue.

The millions of people who suffer from chronic pain can rejoice. Shock wave therapy is an excellent alternative to more invasive procedures, like surgery. In fact, many patients report alleviated symptoms after one or two sessions. 

ESWT has been used worldwide for years. Though it first made its appearance in the United States medical system in 2000.

Over the past twenty years, many tests and studies have been done on the effectiveness of ESWT. The results have been overwhelmingly positive, which have allowed the clinical applications of ESWT to grow exponentially.

How Does Shock Wave Therapy Work?

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy is a non-invasive procedure that sends high-frequency acoustic shock waves into the affected area.

Typical areas treated include bones or soft tissue that have been damaged somehow. The shock waves actually re-injure the area on a cellular level. Breaking up any scarring that has penetrated tendons and ligaments or calcification of bones.

Believe it or not, this controlled re-injuring helps the body regenerate blood vessels and bone cells. The resulting revascularization, see fresh new blood, means faster healing. Often, it can also mean a return to pre-injury activity levels with no downtime.

This kind of treatment is perfect for managing pain and ultimately eliminating it. There are three main reasons why ESWT is so effective.

First, the high-frequency waves stimulate a reaction in the affected tissue. This reaction causes stress fibers to develop and/or change their permeability.

Then, the shock waves develop tiny air bubbles. They go to work, breaking down calcific deposits wherever they find them.

Finally, they induce an analgesic reaction in the area, which effectively blocks pain messages from going to the brain. 

What Conditions Can Be Treated With ESWT?

Shockwave therapy machines can be used to treat many common conditions. It doesn’t matter if the pain is acute or chronic; ESWT can help address soft tissue or bone injuries from head to toe. 

Some of the most common uses for shock wave therapy include:

  • Heel pain (Plantar Fasciitis)
  • Foot pain
  • Ankle pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hamstring pain
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain (frozen shoulder)
  • Elbow pain (tennis or golfers elbow)
  • Wrist pain (including carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Hand pain
  • Neck pain
  • TMJ (jaw pain)
  • Sports injuries
  • Erectile disfunction
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Sacroiliitis
  • Coccydynia
  • Overuse injuries
  • Bone spurs
  • Cellulite treatment
  • Shin splints
  • Scar tissue

The results seem to depend on the nature of the condition being treated, but all studies point to positive implications for treating all of the above with ESWT. The procedure typically takes 30 minutes, and the patient goes home that day.

Side effects of shock wave therapy are minimal. Your patients may experience mild bruising, swelling, pain, numbness, or tingling in the treated area for a few hours after treatment. 

What Are The Benefits of ESWT Treatment?

There are many benefits to treating patients with shock wave therapy.

Because it’s non-invasive, there is no recovery downtime. No dealing with grogginess from anesthesia or lengthy hospital stays. So patients can save money and get back to living their lives straight away. 

Results will vary depending on the condition being treated and its nature. But studies show success rates for pain elimination as high as 91% for some conditions. At the same time, 80% of patients report satisfaction with the faster recovery time and healing process.

Recap on the benefits: your patients will save money, heal faster, there will be no scarring, no risk of infection,  no need for anesthesia, no need for prescription pain killers, and no surgery. 

Who Should Get Shock Wave Therapy? 

The ESWT procedure is ideal for patients who don’t want surgery and who have tried more conservative treatments with no effect. If resting, hot and cold therapy, or a decrease in activity hasn’t helped their pain levels or increased healing, ESWT may be the next stop. 

Athletes and active people can benefit greatly from the muscle strengthening aspect of the treatment. Elderly patients with joint problems or spinal calcification can also find relief. 

There is no age limit, and there are no major contraindications for most people when it comes to the application of ESWT. 

With so many applications, amazing benefits, and minimal side effects, adding an ESWT treatment protocol to your practice just makes good business sense. 

Shock Wave Therapy Is Shockingly Effective

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is the real deal. Because of its effectiveness and many benefits, it’s growing in popularity across medical disciplines.

Today, you can find orthopedists, podiatrists, chiropractors, sports medicine practitioners, physical therapists, and pain management clinics, offering this treatment to their patients.

If you are interested in learning more about this therapy and adding it to your practice, please reach out. We pride ourselves on being a leading developer and medical equipment manufacturer right here in the United States.

Our team has worked hard to build our reputation. You can rest assured knowing that we always provide industry-leading technology and high-quality products to our clients. We look forward to helping you obtain the tools you need to provide the highest-quality care to your patients. 


Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy: What Is It and How Does It Work?


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