Shock wave therapy is non-invasive and useful for treating calcifications, injuries and fractures
Shock wave therapymachinery
Shockwave therapy uses a shockwave device that produces sound waves. This technique was developed in the 1970s to treat calculosis in urology, but since the technology was improved in the 1990s, it has also been introduced in orthopaedics and physiotherapy.
But what does this therapy consist of? Shock waves, i.e. audible waves generated by a specific device, are concentrated on the specific part of the body that needs to be treated.
Shockwave therapy is based on the energy of the waves used: depending on their dosage on the affected area, they can shatter kidney stones or stimulate blood flow and cell metabolism. In general, shock waves are short mechanical-acoustic waves that penetrate water and tissue without ever losing power. But that is not all: their force is capable of penetrating elastic tissue, such as muscle and adipose tissue. As a rule, these waves can be generated outside the human body by means of a special device consisting of a cushion filled with water; with it, the therapist channels the transmitted wave energy into the affected area, calculated with extreme precision to avoid any side effects.
A distinction is made between radial and focused shock waves.
Radial shock waves have less energy A A distinction is made between radial and focused shock waves.
Radial shock waves have less energy
and are flatter, so that the power is localised to the emitting probe and spreads over the affected area in a radial manner, with rapid dispersion of pressure and a greater enlargement of the treated area.
Focused shockwaves, on the other hand, are the typically used in the medical field: here the shockwave pressure is shorter, more intense and even more precise
As we have already mentioned, therapy using radial shock waves creates a reaction in the tissue subjected to treatment, increases vascularisation and the release of substances useful for tissue regeneration and allows a rapid decrease in pain levels. In fact, this type of treatment is used to a large extent for pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, but especially for the following parts of the body:
Shockwave therapy is used in the treatment of pain and inflammation. It can be used in problems such as delayed consolidation, pseudoarthrosis, trigger points, tendinopathies, tendon calcifications, periostitis, post-traumatic joint stiffness, bone necrosis and muscle spasticity.
This treatment is usually performed in an outpatient setting. As soon as the patient is in a stable position, local anaesthesia is applied if necessary. At this point, the therapist places the shock wave device on the part to be treated; the waves are transmitted to the body with the head of the device at a frequency of 2-4 Hertz, with increasing energy. The level of pain the patient feels is usually tolerable, even when they require local anaesthesia; however, it is constantly monitored by the doctor. If the pain levels become unbearable, the energy wave level can be reduced or the treatment interrupted.
The head of the device contains water and transmits the waves through the skin. The duration of the therapy is usually 5 to 15 minutes, with between 1000 and 2000 shock waves per session.
The main benefit of shockwave therapy is that positive results are seen very quickly. After 3-5 sessions the benefits begin to be seen on the patient’s body. This is because the mechanical energy transmitted by the shockwave machine favours, thanks to its metabolic action, the reduction of inflammation and the elimination of pain thanks to the localised release of endorphins.
But that is not all. The benefits of shockwave therapy are numerous:
Promotes bone growth
Promotes blood circulation
Forms and regenerates tissue
Promotes wound healing
Gives pain relief
Reduces rehabilitation time
Shockwave therapy has numerous advantages, especially when it comes to breaking up calcifications, treating tendinitis or helping regenerate broken bones that fail to heal properly. However, this treatment cannot be performed on patients with specific conditions, such as oncological diseases, patients taking coagulant drugs or pregnant women. Shock wave therapy cannot be performed in areas where there is a risk of organ damage.