There is no pleasure without pain- wisdom passed down for generations. But, for those of us with chronic pain (more than 6 weeks), it seems pleasure is secondary; relief from this constant and nagging pain will do, thank you very much!
Maybe you’ve tried them all; popping pain killers like they’re candy, ice packs that make you forget the pain only to have it exacerbated soon after, heat packs because ice isn’t working, and Linkin Park because ironically, “I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel…..”
To you, we say, great news; chronic pain is treatable!
Conventional Physiotherapy is the first step for fixing acute pain and injuries. These injuries, if they are not assessed and managed thoroughly, they can grow to be a giant pain in the neck (shoulder, elbow or heel) in the long run. Conventional methods maybe not be effective anymore, given the time and intensity of progression.
Physiotherapy for chronic pain entails a non-invasive, and highly effective pain-relieving modality called Shockwave Therapy.
If you’re shocked, you may be at ease. Shockwave Therapy has little to do with electrical shock; the only shock-worthy factor is how fast and permanent your pain relief will be.
While this modality has been in use since the 90’s, its popularity is on the rise of late. This is not surprising; with the latest iteration of the machine, you will experience pain relief in an average of 1-3 sessions. Let’s begin by first describing what Shockwave Therapy is not.
What Shockwave Therapy is not?
- It is not a massage gun. While the projectile end of the shockwave machine resembles a massage gun, they are not the same. Both serve different purposes altogether.
- It is not used in conjunction with painkillers. Several studies state that shockwave is a treatment of its own and can be used individually for pain relief.
- It is not the same as Therapeutic Ultrasound. Shockwaves use a lower frequency of waves with no heating effect while the former uses a higher frequency and almost always produces a heating effect.
What is Shockwave Therapy? And will it help my shoulder/elbow pain?
- It is non-invasive modality that is used in the treatment of chronic inflammation and pain arising from larger tendons in your body. The treatment enhances the body’s natural healing process.
- There are 2 types of Shockwave therapy; Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy and Radial Shockwave Therapy. While both can be extremely beneficial, Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy can reach deeper tissues in the body. Your physiotherapist is best suited to decide the better option for you.
- The answer to your second question is a resounding yes! It is designed to treat and cure chronic shoulder pain, elbow pain arising from tendinopathy or stiffness.
How does Shockwave Therapy work?
Shockwaves are essentially soundwaves produced by the machine. These waves carry high energy to painful spots within your soft tissue and tendons. This high energy is exactly the external support your body needed to begin repairing the injured and painful tendons and other soft tissues.
You will experience the following effects:
- Pain relief– Shockwave decreases tension in the muscles associated with the tendon to immediately relieve pain.
- Faster healing– Collagen and other metabolites are necessary for permanent healing. Shockwave increases the production of collagen and supplies the damaged tissue with more oxygen to repair the damage.
- Better movement– shockwave decreases stiffness and improves movement.
What are the conditions that benefit from this treatment?
It is typically used in tendinopathies that are chronic, lasting more than 6 weeks. This includes but is not limited to;
- Shoulder pain from calcifications, Impingement syndrome
- Wrist-Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Elbow– Tennis elbow, Golfers elbow
- Ankle and heel– Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy
- Jumper’s knee and more.
What is the process for Shockwave therapy Treatment?
Physiotherapy for chronic pain follows a simple 3 step process while delivering treatment using this modality.
- Locate the painful areas.
This step is where a thorough assessment comes in handy. Your Physiotherapist will ask you questions about the source of injury and history. In addition, palpation is a hands-on technique used to determine the exact location of pain.
- Apply gel.
You will feel a cold gel being rubbed over the painful spots. This is an important step to ensure the shockwaves face the least resistance and travel to the deepest points of pain.
- Deliver shockwave treatment:
Your Physiotherapist will determine the parameters for treatment and then use the projectile end of the machine to deliver treatment. The painful spot will feel slightly sore. The treatment can be described as a small dollar-sized hammer hitting the location. This will last anywhere between 3-5 minutes depending on the severity of pain.
- Most patients will not feel any soreness after treatment. If you do, it’s helpful to remember your body’s natural healing process has been activated and all discomfort is temporary.
- On average your physiotherapist may recommend 3-5 sessions on a weekly basis.
- While Shockwave therapy is highly effective, in some circumstances it is not advised.
When is Shockwave Therapy contra-indicated?
- Open wounds. Gel application over an open wound would go against common sense and therefore not advised.
- Pregnancy. Your physiotherapist will need to know in advance if you are pregnant. Fret not, although shockwave will be ruled out, your physiotherapist will use other methods to relieve your pain.
- Pacemakers, implantations or joint replacements. The shockwaves would interfere with the workings of such devices.
- Circulation disorders. Shockwave promotes healing by increasing blood flow to the affected area. In the case of circulation disorders this would be ill-advised.
- Infections or cancerous tissue. Your Physiotherapist will most likely wait for infection and tumors to be treated first.
Why Revere Physiotherapy?
At Revere, we are a dedicated, skilled and compassionate team of physiotherapists who use a hands-on approach to diagnose your condition. After preliminary tests are performed, a physiotherapy treatment plan involving shockwave treatment therapy will be determined.
While most clinics charge extra fees for shockwave due to the cost of it (an additional $20-$40), we don’t charge any extra fees.
Schedule an appointment now. If you have any questions or concerns reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer complimentary phone consultations for you to decide if we’ll be a good fit. Give us a call at 604-566-5108.