Sound has the power to heal in so many ways. It can take the form of calming music, soothing sounds from nature, a guided meditation, or the comforting voice of a love one. At BodaHealth, we offer another way that the power of sound can be therapeutic. It’s called shock wave therapy.
While shock wave therapy may sound a little harsh, it’s actually pulsed acoustic (sound) waves that are transmitted into an area to be treated. It consists of a high pressure wave followed by negative pressure. Shockwave therapy works by speeding up the healing process because it stimulates your metabolism, breaks down scar tissue, and promotes circulation in the treated area to regenerate healthy tissue. It can be used to treat pathological changes in your tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, muscles, and bones.
Shock wave therapy is also called Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, or ESWT. It’s called extracorporeal because the acoustic waves come from outside your body. The acoustic waves are produced by a machine that converts compressed air into sound waves, which are then applied to the treatment area through a hand held device. Shockwave therapy shouldn’t be confused with ultrasound or a massage, because it’s not necessarily a comfortable treatment. That said, it doesn’t have to be painful to be effective, either. The level of sensation that you feel during a treatment is controlled in a number of ways, including:
- The type of head that’s used on the hand device. There are a dozen different heads to choose from, each designed for a different depth and purpose. For example, there is a head intended for use on bony sensitive areas, such as elbows, fingers, toes, hands, feet, wrists, and ankles. Other heads are meant to be used for deeper tissue applications, such as iliotibial (IT) band issues, low back pain, and for treating larger areas or myofascial issues. Other heads are used for trigger point treatments or tendon and ligament issues.
- The pressure coming from the machine. We are able to control how much pressure is delivered to the target area. The pressure is measured in bars much like when you pump up a bicycle tire.
- The pressure that is applied by your practitioner to the affected area through the handheld device can also affect the amount of sensation you will feel.
Conditions Treated with Shock Wave Therapy
We have found that shockwave therapy is great for people suffering from muscle and connective tissue problems. It can help patients who have stubborn trigger points, muscles that won’t release, fascial adhesions, painful knots, tendonopathies, and joint pain. There is a large body of research that documents the effectiveness of shock wave therapy for a wide variety of conditions. In fact, it was the large volume of convincing research on this treatment that led us at BodaHealth to offer it to our patients. Studies have shown that shockwave therapy can be effective for conditions like:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Frozen shoulder
- Heel spurs
- Tendon issues in areas such as your shoulder, hamstrings, Achilles
- Stress fractures
- Jumper’s knee
- Patellar Tendinitis
- Trigger points
- Fascial release
- Tennis elbow
- Shin splints
- Morton’s neuroma
- Treatment for scar tissue
- Osteoarthritis of the knee
- CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
At BodaHealth, we have found shock wave therapy to be a powerful treatment, especially when combined with acupuncture, injection therapy, cupping, herbs, supplements, and therapeutic exercise. The benefits of shockwave therapy are many. It’s non-invasive, there are no negative side effects, it can help speed up the healing process, it’s a quick and affordable treatment, and it’s effective. In addition, we have found it to be a great tool for conditions that are resistant to other treatments.
Each patient is unique in their condition, symptoms, and treatment needs, so shock wave protocols will differ for every patient. A good starting guideline is be to have 3-4 treatments every 4-7 days, then wait about 6 weeks to have another treatment or series of treatments if needed. Some patients have long-term recurring issues that will resolve for a significant period of time, often for months. However they may need maintenance treatments a few times a year after their initial treatment. Other patients will find that their problem resolves completely after a single series of treatments.
The therapeutic power of sound is harnessed in shock wave therapy. It’s a healing tool that can treat a number of health conditions. It’s safe, effective, and gently stimulates your body to repair itself.