Shockwave Therapy or Acoustic Wave Therapy (SWT) is an innovative treatment for musculoskeletal conditions. SWT is a series of high-energy percussion or radial pressure waves to the affected area using a transmitter head on the skin. The mechanical pressure of the high energy sound waves creates a controlled mechanical insult to the tissue which significantly increases blood flow to the area. The sound waves stimulate the body’s natural self-healing processes by promoting a positive inflammatory response at the site, then assisting with regeneration and repair. You can think of it as a restart on the healing process for a stubborn chronic condition, particularly those affecting medium to large sized tendons and their insertions on bone.
The evidence for the use of SWT is overwhelming! In the last 10 years, over 300 articles and abstracts have been published regarding the efficacy of SWT. Of special note, many randomized controlled trials showed that SWT is safe and effective for treating plantar fasciitis (Gerdesmeyer et al. 2008) hamstring tendinitis (Cacchio et al. 2010), achilles tendinopathy and jumper’s knee (Rompe et al. 2007), and calcific shoulder tendinitis (Bannuru et al, 2014). There has also been exponential growth in SWT use for trigger point therapy.
The most striking aspect of SWT is that it has a 75-85 percent success rate when combined with exercise.
For many injuries, SWT is a great non-invasive alternative to surgical procedures. For best results it is recommended that treatment be performed at one week intervals for a minimum of three treatments.
*Physiotherapy is covered under many extended health insurance plans.