Shockwave therapy is a therapeutic technique that uses a specialized device to deliver acoustic energy through the skin to the injured part of the body. It is an effective treatment modality for a variety of lower and upper limb conditions, and has been found to be particularly helpful in treating chronic proximal hamstring tendinopathy in professional athletes. Most patients require three sessions of shockwave therapy, each one week apart, before noticing significant pain relief. Depending on the severity of the pain and the number of areas being treated, the results may take less time to become apparent; likewise, if you have major chronic pain, you may need a second treatment after 16 weeks to achieve optimal results.
For some patients, it may require one year of treatment, usually 3 to 6 treatments, for optimal results. Shockwave therapy has a cumulative effect on injured tissue. Research shows that patients should have a minimum of three treatment sessions over a three-week period. It is not uncommon for more than three sessions to be required, but this is decided as needed based on your response to treatment.
Depending on the severity of the injury and the reason you are receiving treatment, you may feel relief after one or two treatments. During treatment, tissue hyperstimulation can create a temporary anesthetic effect that makes you feel good immediately after the session. For some people, this anesthesia-like sensation lasts for hours. For others, it can last for days.
It usually takes about 16 weeks after treatment to enjoy the full benefits of shockwave therapy. As part of the shock wave session, your physical therapist will also prescribe the correct rehabilitation exercises for your condition to ensure optimal recovery. NICE has developed guidelines for the use of shock waves in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis and calcific tendinopathy. Shockwave therapy works most effectively as part of a complete treatment and rehabilitation program. First, shock waves act to desensitize nerve endings, often immediately reducing pain.
Up to 80% of the same patients around the world claim that shockwave therapy has helped them eliminate their problem. After a shock wave treatment, your physical therapist will recommend that you do not take any anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen, as it could decrease the effect of the treatment. Due to the low cost of energy-efficient shockwave machines, many patients may be under the impression that they have received “true shockwave therapy”. However, it is important to remember that shockwave therapy is not a one-time solution; it requires multiple treatments over time in order to achieve optimal results. Shockwave therapy provides benefits to people seeking healing from ligament, muscle, bone, capsule and tendon injuries. If you are considering shockwave therapy as an option for treating your condition, it is important to discuss your expectations with your specialist and follow their advice regarding how often you should receive treatments.