What is shockwave and can it help me?

Over here at Spinefit, we have a specialised treatment that is safe, fast and effective for multiple soft tissue injuries. During the shockwave treatment, the machine uses a single acoustic pressure waves to treat musculoskeletal and dermatological pathologies. It is non-invasive and an alternative to surgery, steroidal injections and oral medication.

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So how does it work?
The radial shockwave machine that we use here in Spinefit uses compressed air to accelerate a projectile that strikes a fixed applicator at high speed (up to 90 km/h). The kinetic energy here is then converted into a shock wave to deliver to the target tissue through the skin.

This positive pressure in the wave causes shear stress in the tissue whereas the negative pressure causes cavitation bubbles that then causes secondary waves as it bursts. These waves are given in a pulsating manner (measured in Hertz), thus giving its name “shock wave”.

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In every person, the chronic pain generator (C nerve fibers) releases a very specific substance (Substance P). This is very similar to when someone eats a red hot chilli pepper (or cili padi)! The C nerve fiber is responsible for transmitting pain but then disables them for an extended period of time. Imagine the feeling of initially having your mouth on fire, then feeling like it’s gone completely numb.

Well, research has indicated that shock wave therapy works quite the same way. When activated, the C nerve fibers releases Substance P in the tissue as well as in the spinal cord. This substance is responsible for causing slight discomfort during and after shock wave treatments. However, with prolonged activation, C nerve fibers become incapable for some time of releasing Substance P and causing pain. With the reduction of Substance P, it causes so-called neurogenic inflammation to decline – fostering healing together with the release of growth factors and the activation of stem cells in the treated tissue.

In layman terms, shock wave therapy helps to reduce pain by numbing the nerve and facilitates healing by improving blood supply to the area of injury. It is for this reason, shock wave therapy has the ability to effectively treat multiple tendon injuries which have little blood supply. For a more detailed research into shock wave therapy, you can read more here.

 

What conditions are treatable?
Some of the musculoskeletal indications that would be treatable by shock wave therapy includes:

  • Tendinopathies (Heel pain, tennis elbow, shoulder pain etc.)
  • Muscle aches and pains (Trigger points, myofascial pain syndrome etc.)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Delayed unions and nonunion fractures
  • Spasticity
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These conditions vary in severity depending on the outcome of the initial consultation with our team of Chiropractic Doctors and whether your condition is acute or chronic in nature. However, in most cases, our Practice Members begin to see changes after their 3rd or 4th visit with us.

 

Success stories?
Shock wave therapy has been used more commonly in sports medicine. Due to its effectiveness and the conditions it treats, the shock wave therapy was used in many major sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014), Olympics (2004, 2008, 2012, 2014), Rugby World Cup (2011, 2015) and tennis tournaments (Roland Garros, Davis Cup). There are a few professional soccer franchises (Serie A, Primera Division, Premier League, Bundesliga, MLS) that regularly uses shock wave therapy to help speed the recovery of some of its key soccer players.

Watch Italian tennis player, Paolo Lorenzi share his experience here (Youtube, 3.04 mins). Another journal article sharing on the rapid acceptance of shock wave therapy’s conservative approach by athletes can be found here (Medical Sports Network, PDF).

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To find out if shock wave therapy is right for you, make an initial consultation appointment with our team today. Let our team of doctors and rehab specialists assess your condition and make the necessary recommendation. We want to help you live pain-free and feeling stronger.

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