What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT), is a clinically proven and highly effective treatment for chronic soft tissue injuries and certain bone conditions, as recommended in the NICE guidelines.
An extracorporeal shockwave is defined as a non-invasive, non-electrical high energy sound wave that passes through the body via a hand-held probe. The shock waves produce a rapid increase in blood circulation to the target area and will break down fibrous scar tissue which builds up over time, as well triggering stem cell activation to stimulate a healing response. This is especially relevant with stubborn chronic conditions.
The break-down of scar tissue is the key to why shock wave therapy is so effective. Unlike normal elasticated tissue, scar tissue is non-elastic and will prevent normal movement and function, thereby weakening the unaffected tissue surrounding it, often causing further damage and pain. By increasing circulation and breaking down scar tissue, shockwave therapy will stimulate cell regeneration and promote normal healing and rapid reduction of pain. The normal function can then be restored.
What does Shockwave Therapy treat?
Shockwave therapy can be effective for a wide range of soft tissue and bony conditions. Here are some examples of conditions where shock wave has effectively treated and restored normal function:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shoulder pain, e.g. calcific lesions or tendinopathy of the rotator cuff, and bony spurs
- Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Medial epicondylitis (golfer‘s elbow)
- Patellar tendinopathy (jumper‘s knee)
- Tibial stress syndrome (shin pain)
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Hip pain (greater trochanteric pain syndrome)
- Heel pain, heel spurs
- Chronic neck dysfunction
How successful is Shockwave Therapy?
After only 3 or 4 treatments with shockwave therapy, over 80% of patients report a reduction of pain and regaining of normal function. More specifically the breakdown for the percentage of people reporting improvement by body part has been reported as follows:
- 91% reduction in pain for calcific tendinopathy (Journal of American Medical Association, 2003)
- 90% reduction in pain for plantarfasciitis (Journal of Orthopedic Research, 2005)
- 86% reduction in pain for rotator cuff tendonitis (Journal of American Medical Association, 2003)
- 80% reduction in pain for non-union fractures (Clinical Orthopedics and related research, 2001)
- 77% reduction in pain for tennis elbow (The Journal of Orthopedics, 2005)
- 75% reduction in pain for jumper's Knee (patellar tendonitis) - (American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2007)
- 75% reduction in pain for achilles tendinopathy (American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2007)
Research is growing for this cutting-edge technology, and the latest reports are confirming shockwave therapy is an effective treatment of soft tissue injuries, pain and certain bony conditions like heel spurs. The evidence shows that the most effective treatment is a combination of shockwave and loaded exercise therapy, so we are keen to be able to offer this ultimate treatment here at Physiotherapy and Wellness.
When investing in advanced technology like shockwave therapy, it is important to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the equipment, as well as having the backing of evidenced-based research. EMS Swiss Dolorclast are well known for their high standards of medical equipment and are leaders in the field of shockwave therapy. Our decision to invest in the Swiss Dolorclast Master therefore was an easy one to make.
The Swiss Dolorclast Method is used by some of the most elite football clubs in the world including, Manchester City, Chelsea, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris St Germain, Ajax Amsterdam and LA Galaxy. It is also used in many other sports for example tennis, golf and rugby. See the video below to show how an elite tennis player benefits from the use of the EMS Swiss Dolorclast Method:
Costs for treatment
As recommended in the clinical excellence guidelines, it often takes 3 or more treatments to resolve an issue. Patients are recommended to book 3 consecutive weekly sessions to gain the full effect of Shockwave Therapy. The shockwave package alone is available at a fee of £270 payable in advance by BACS or at your first appointment by card or cash.
Any further single treatment carried out by our Specialist Physiotherapist will be £90.
What can I expect during my consultation?
At your first visit, you will meet our experienced Specialist Physiotherapist, who will discuss your symptoms and condition and decide whether Shockwave therapy is appropriate and help you to plan your treatment programme. This would be charged at our normal assessment fee of £60.
If Shockwave therapy is appropriate you will be given pre-treatment information and your 15-minute sessions will be booked in. Shockwave treatment typically lasts for 10-15 minutes. It is recommended that any relevant hands-on manual therapy and exercise therapy is done prior to a Shockwave session but should run in conjunction with your Shockwave therapy.
Should your Physiotherapist feel Shockwave therapy is not appropriate for your condition, this will be explained and a normal consultation fee will be apllied and alternative treatment will be recommended.
When used correctly, the side effects of shockwave therapy are minimal at most. The majority of patients experience a reduction in their pain. Occasionally some mild side effects can occur including:
- A mild diffuse pain which may last 36 hours.
- Redness over the site treated
- Petechia (tiny, non-raised patches on the skin)
- Swelling and numbness over the area treated
Are there contraindications for Shockwave Therapy?
There are a few occasions when shockwave should not be used:
- Pregnancy or trying to conceive
- Treatment over air filled tissue (lung, gut)
- Treatment of pre-ruptured tendons
- Treatment for patients under 18 years, with the exception of Osgood-Schlatter disease.
- Treatment over metal pins or plates
- Malignant tumors
- Nerve or circulation disorders
- Those with local or viral infections
- If the patient is taking anticoagulants
- Patients with blood clotting disorders
How do I go about enquiring or booking?
To make a booking you will first need to make an initial assessment, either via our website, or with reception to see our Specialist Physiotherapist. They will discuss your condition and decide whether Shockwave therapy is appropriate for you. If you are already under the care of one of our physiotherapists, please discuss your suitability in your next consultation.
To enquire further about the treatment please send an email to Andy Lord at the following address, where he will endeavor to contact you within 48 hours:
Will my private health insurance cover this?
Shockwave treatment is covered by most major insurers. Please contact your insurance company to see whether you are covered on you plan.
Please note, as with all insurance claims, prior authorisation must be gained before committing to any course of treatment and you will be expected to provide a claim number or reference when booking.