How often should you get shockwave therapy?

Specialists usually recommend one-week intervals, however, this may change depending on your individual circumstances. For example, patients treated with shock waves to treat chronic pain caused by tendonitis may receive treatments every few days at first, and sessions decrease over time. Shockwave therapy works best when sessions are given about 1 week apart. Most injuries require a minimum of 3 sessions, so the ideal is to plan to be available for 3 consecutive weeks without skipping treatment to get the better results.

It is important that you do not take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for 2 weeks before your first session and throughout your treatment, as this may interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment. Clarify this with your doctor or therapist, as other pain relievers are available if you need them. Plan what to wear: the treatment area should be exposed, so loose clothing or the option of wearing shorts or a vest, for example, may be necessary. In the case of pain, it is common to need one or two treatments for optimal pain-free results.

Your treatments may be annual to maintain results or scheduled once or twice during the year. We'll help you determine how often you should receive treatment to control your pain. In the case of injuries, such as stress fractures, one treatment may be sufficient to achieve results. Shock wave treatment 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's not unusual for more than three sessions to be required, but this is decided based on needs based on your response to treatment. Usually, athletes can return to activity within 24 hours after treatment. Studies show that this pain improvement continues for months and even years after the last shockwave session ends (Moya, et al.).

Shockwave therapy or extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is an innovative, cost-effective, evidence-based treatment for tendon pain (often referred to as tendonitis or tendinopathy)) and other conditions throughout the body. If a patient has significantly low bone density (osteoporosis), shock wave therapy could lead to a stress fracture. Shockwave therapy is often used in combination with other treatments, such as physical therapy and platelet-rich plasma injections. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) broadly supports the use of shockwave therapy to treat tendon problems.

The shock wave device used for this treatment is a portable tool that generates sound wave energy that are transmitted through the body. Shockwave therapy is used to reduce pain and promote healing of tendinopathy and many other sports injuries. Shockwave therapy is part of the extensive sports medicine and injury prevention services available in the Sports Medicine Division of Boston Children's and the Sports Ultrasound Clinic. NICE has developed guidelines for the use of shock waves in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis and calcific tendinopathy.

Shockwave therapy has proven to be an effective treatment modality for a number of common tendon conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy and tennis elbow. There are currently several randomized, double-blind clinical trials supporting the use of shockwave therapy for plantar fasciitis, lateral epicondylitis, and calcified shoulder tendonitis. Shock waves have a mechanical effect on tissue that stimulates the body's cells responsible for healing.