Could Shock Wave Therapy help reduce your chronic pain?
There can be nothing more debilitating than chronic pain. Whether it’s your back, your hip, your knee, your shoulder – or, really, any other joint or muscle – the pain has a major negative impact on your life. Movement causes flare-ups. Sometimes, depending on the condition, just sitting down or standing up can be a nightmare.
Eventually, you learn to deal with the pain, but it’s always there, humming away in the background.
If this sounds familiar, we have some good news: there could be a way out of pain for you.
Shock Wave Therapy has been popular in Europe for some time now, but is still a relatively new phenomenon in the UK. It’s been cleared by NICE – the institute governing healthcare guidelines in the UK – as well as by the US FDA. And it’s now coming to West Wimbledon Physiotherapy Clinic.
Who can use it?
Shock Wave Therapy could help anyone suffering from a chronic condition, including: jumper’s knee, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, chronic tendinopathy, medial tibial stress syndrome, calcifications, or hip, shoulder, knee or back pain.
It’s generally considered as a treatment option when a patient reports no improvement from other, more conservative options, including physiotherapy, rest, steroid injection, ice therapy and painkillers. It is the step between these treatments and surgery as a last resort.
How does it work?
The treatment is non-invasive and non-surgical, and is simple and easy to apply. It works by sending acoustic waves to the treatment area, stimulating tissue regeneration, improving circulation and reducing pain.
There are three steps:
- Your clinician locates the area to be treated by feeling it with their fingers.
- Once they’ve found the right spot, they’ll apply some gel which will help the acoustic waves to get to the right spot smoothly.
- Finally, the shock wave is applied by slightly pushing a hand-held machine against the area to be treated.
You’ll likely need a course of three to five treatments.
What should I expect from treatment?
You will probably experience a little pain during treatment, but it should be at a tolerable level. If it’s not, tell the physiotherapist straight away.
Immediately following treatment you should feel a noticeable reduction in pain, though a few hours after treatment, as it starts to take effect, you may have some pain in the area while it heals.
Following treatment you may experience redness, bruising, swelling and numbness to the area; these side effects should resolve within a week, before your next treatment.
What’s the evidence?
There have been many medical studies published on the effectiveness of Shock Wave Therapy. KM Nicolaevich, in the journal Urology (2013, vol 6), found patients showed significant improvement of pain and quality of life. Likewise, in Clinical Study Report, May 2014, Michael Abdijev, MD, reported a 76% improvement in quality of life.
Elsewhere, a group of Romanian clinicians reported Shock Wave Therapy eliminated calcifications in 84% of cases; calcifications are a major cause of mobility issues and pain in joints.
How can I find out more?
Please give our head physiotherapist Rosemary a call or email. Our contact details can be located on our ‘Contact’ web page.