Specialists usually recommend one-week intervals; however, this may change depending on individual circumstances. For example, patients treated with shock wave therapy for chronic pain caused by tendonitis may receive treatments every few days at first, and sessions are reduced over time. Shockwave therapy works best when sessions are given about 1 week apart. Most injuries require a minimum of 3 sessions, so ideally you should plan to be available for 3 consecutive weeks without skipping any treatment for the best results.
It is important that you do not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for 2 weeks before the first session and throughout treatment, as this can interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment. Clarify this with your doctor or therapist, as other pain relievers are available should you need them. Plan what clothes to wear: the treatment area must be exposed, so you may need to wear loose-fitting clothing or wear shorts or a vest, for example. Most patients require three shockwave therapy sessions, each one a week apart, before significant pain relief is noticed.
Some conditions may require five treatments. Your specialist will be able to talk to you about your particular case and your expectations. When you undergo shock wave treatment, your therapist will use a portable device connected to a machine that converts compressed air into sound waves. After treatment, you may experience temporary pain, tenderness, or swelling for a few days after the procedure, as shock waves stimulate a helpful inflammatory response.
If the sequelae seem too painful, tell your therapist, as he or she can adjust the dose of the treatment. Therefore, shock wave therapy is a type of targeted therapy, which only treats injured or damaged areas. After shock wave treatment, there is an extremely low risk of tendon rupture or soft tissue damage, but the potential benefit far outweighs any risk. Shockwave therapy is a safe and effective treatment if given in a professional setting, but there are circumstances where it is not recommended.
Shockwave therapy is an innovative therapy that can treat specific bone, joint, muscle, tendon and ligament pain. Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that involves creating a series of pulses of low-energy acoustic waves that are applied directly to the lesion through the person's skin using a gel. It should be remembered that, while shockwave therapy can be very effective in reducing pain and promoting healing, there are some key areas that are important to discuss with the physical therapist, including any underlying flexibility or strength problems around the joint or muscle, as well as the cause of the injury (overload, training habits, poor biomechanics, for example). Shockwave therapy is beneficial for patients with painful conditions in the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments), joints and bones.
Shockwave therapy is also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) or Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT). Radial shock wave therapy is an FDA-approved technology that has been shown to increase the rate of healing of soft tissue tendinopathies. King Edward VII Hospital offers shock wave therapy and here, Dr. Lloyd Williams, a foot and ankle surgeon, explains how the treatment works, under what conditions it can be effective and who might be suitable.