Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, or ESWT, is a relatively new technology designed to target painful conditions associated with tendon irritation. Relief from symptoms is commonly noticed within 1-2 sessions, even when other conventional methods have failed.
ESWT is most commonly used for conditions that have become chronic (lasting more than 6 weeks), and can be used for conditions such as:
- Heel pain and plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendon pain
- Patella tendinopathy / ITB syndrome
- Gluteal tendon / bursa irritation (greater trochanteric bursitis)
- Low back pain / neck pain due to muscle tension/trigger points
- Shoulder pain, e.g. shoulder calcifications, tendonitis, frozen shoulder
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow
At UrbanRehab we have invested in one of the most advanced, evidenced-backed machines available outside of the hospital setting and our therapists have ongoing training to keep up-to-date with the most recent treatment protocols.
ESWT is most successful when applied in combination with standard rehabilitation techniques to ensure long-term, sustainable change; your therapist will ensure you receive a full and comprehensive treatment program that is individualised to your needs.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
How is ESWT administered?
Shockwaves are audible (it can be quite loud!) high-energy sound waves produced when a small projectile hits a transmitter within the hand-held treatment device. A water-based gel is applied to your skin to act as a transmitting substance and the applicator will be placed onto the area and moved in small circles around the affected site – the pressure will slowly increase until we reach your therapeutic level.
The shockwaves produced can pass through the superficial layers to reach the deeper tissues – in this way the shockwaves reach deeper layers than manual therapy or massage tools.
Is the treatment painful?
During treatment you should experience a strong “tapping” sensation directly to the area of irritation, this can be moderately uncomfortable but should not result in actual pain. Your therapist will work to ensure you are comfortable throughout, they can adjust the setting and pressure to ensure you are not in pain.
The treatment is also relatively quick – each affected area receiving between 500-1000 “shocks” which takes approx. 8-10 minutes to complete. It is not uncommon to feel a bit sore after treatment, but this usually passes within 1-2 hours. It is best to avoid anti-inflammatory medications directly after treatment as inflammation is actually part of the healing process triggered by ESWT. You can ice the area if very sore, but this isn’t normally required.
How soon can I return to activities?
It is safe to return to everyday activities such as walking/standing/childcare immediately after your treatment. Activities that might aggravate symptoms of your particular condition, such as jumping/running, should be avoided for approx. 12-24 hours to prevent irritation to healing tendons.
Concurrent therapy, such as rehabilitation exercises or wearing of insoles to address underlying biomechanical issues, should continue. Your therapist will advise you accordingly after each session if anything needs adjusting.
How long does it take to feel results?
Most patients feel results in 2-3 sessions. Research indicates that 4-6 sessions, administered over 6-12 weeks, provide the most consistent results. Once you have completed 6 sessions we advise a break from ESWT to monitor results, if appropriate your therapist might suggest another round of ESWT at a later date.
If you have not experienced relief from symptoms within 4 sessions your therapist can investigate other potential causes of your symptoms and adjust treatment where necessary
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