Shockwave Therapy is Not as Scary as it Sounds
While the name “shockwave” may make you think of an eerie mad scientist experimenting with electric shocks on a frightened patient, in reality – shockwave therapy is far from this image and is actually incredibly safe and healing. Shockwave, which we will refer to as Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT), is an FDA-approved device that stimulates the body’s regenerative qualities and improves circulation.
What is the Science Behind Acoustic Wave Therapy?
AWT applies acoustic pulses to the body to activate the cells in charge of restoring the bones and connective tissues (1). The machine helps to stretch the membranes of these target cells to become momentarily permeable to certain ions and molecules that aid in the healing process.
The device used at Body R-N-R is called the Storz Ortho Pulse 200, which is a radial device using pneumatic technology and can produce softer waves than other devices (2). The radial pressure waves help with improving metabolic activity and microcirculation(3). Key in pain mitigation, radial wave therapy also offers myofascial release (2).
What Does Acoustic Wave Therapy Treat?
AWT can treat a wide range of conditions and can be applied to many areas of the body. The radial feature of the Storz Ortho Pulse 200 used at Body R-N-R lends to greater coverage of an area, which allows for treatment of pain that is spread throughout the body (2). Additionally, the radial waves are gentle and safe to be applied on the face and to other sensitive areas.
Commonly used for:
- Acute and Chronic Injuries (bursitis, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, jumpers knee)
- Frozen shoulder
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Recovery from Orthopedic Procedures
AWT treats cellulite and wrinkles by breaking up the fibrous tissues that cause their appearance. The device also increases blood and lymph circulation, supports elasticity and permeability in the cells, and stimulates collagen production to effectively minimize or eliminate cellulite and wrinkles (4).
Radial acoustic wave therapy is safe to use on the face and is found to have long-lasting facial tightening effects (5). This therapy has also been proven to successfully treat skin texture and minimize pores (6).
Acute and Chronic Injuries (Musculoskeletal)
To treat musculoskeletal injuries, AWT promotes increased blood flow by breaking up adhesions in the tissues. The disruption of calcified deposits and other blockages allows for more movement in areas of the body that have become tight or “stuck,” as we see in frozen shoulder (7). Increased blood flow helps greatly to relieve pain from acute and chronic injuries, including conditions in sensitive areas such as ED and pelvic pain (8).
As an Alternative or Addition to Surgery
AWT is often used as an alternative to surgical procedures since it is not invasive, less expensive, and has a much faster recovery time. It can also be used in addition to an orthopedic procedure to help speed up recovery and enhance results (9).
Is AWT Painless?
AWT is non-invasive and relatively painless, though it may cause some discomfort. Patients often describe the feeling to be very similar to the achiness that is sometimes felt naturally in the area of the injury. Patients are strongly encouraged to communicate their experiences with the practitioner. To ease any pain or improve the effectiveness of the treatment, the machine can operate at lower or higher intensities as well as reach deeper or more superficial areas (10).
How Often Do You Use AWT?
Recovery time between treatments and the number of treatments needed will vary from condition to condition and person to person. Body R-N-R typically treats acute conditions in 4 sessions, though this will depend on each individual’s progress. Cellulite reduction and other skin improvements can typically be treated in as little as 2-3 weeks.
What is the Recovery Process Following a Shockwave Therapy Appointment?
There is no downtime following treatment. You are able to walk in and walk out without needing to take the day off from your regular activities. However, it is recommended to avoid any extreme exercises or putting any stress on the treated area for at least 24 hours. It is also best to avoid applying ice to the area or taking anti-inflammatory medication since both are counterproductive to the treatment and may interfere with the healing process. Your practitioner may recommend certain exercises to help stretch the area and take advantage of the improved mobility and pain release (11).
How Has Your Perspective of AWT Changed?
We hope the initial frightening image of shockwave as described above has been replaced, with the more healing image of acoustic wave therapy! We also hope that this blog helps showcase the incredible healing properties of AWT to treat a wide variety of conditions. Patients have been benefiting from this technology for over 20 years and clinical trials show a 91% success rate (1). This technology is becoming more and more popular, and Body R-N-R is very excited to be offering this safe, non-invasive, and effective super-healer to our clients!
(1) Shockwave technology. Shockwave Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://shockwavecanada.com/storz-medical-and-shockwave-technology/
(2) Radial vs Focus Shockwave therapy: What is the difference, and what is each treatment used for? Oceanus America. (2021, July 19). Retrieved May 29, 2022, from https://oceanusamerica.com/radial-vs-focus-shockwave-therapy-what-is-the-difference-and-what-is-each-treatment-used-for/
(3) What are shock waves? What are shock waves? Physics and Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.storzmedical.com/en/physics-and-technology
(4) User, S. (n.d.). Cellulite. Shock wave therapy – Shockwave Therapy Education. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://shockwavetherapy.education/index.php/tutorials/cellulite
(5) Y;, K. K. T. (n.d.). Facial tightening effects, following focused and radial acoustic wave therapy assessment, using three-dimensional digital imaging. Lasers in surgery and medicine. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33211338/
(6) RM;, A. M. A. A.-N. (n.d.). Facial treatment with acoustic wave therapy for improvement of facial skin texture, pores and wrinkles. Journal of cosmetic dermatology. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32090488/
(7) Is shockwave therapy effective in treating frozen shoulder? Shockwave Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://shockwavecanada.com/is-shockwave-therapy-effective-in-treating-frozen-shoulder/
(8) Roland, J. (2020, March 9). Does shockwave therapy for Ed work? Healthline. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/shockwave-therapy-for-ed
(9) Pros and cons of shockwave therapy: FFC&S. Family Foot Care & Surgery. (2020, June 22). Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://patelpodiatry.com/blog/pros-and-cons-shockwave-therapy/
(10) ePainAssist, T. (2020, December 29). What is shockwave therapy, how does it work, benefits and side effects. Epainassist. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://www.epainassist.com/test-and-procedures/how-does-shockwave-therapy-work
(11) What is radial shockwave therapy? A quick guide. Physiotherapy in Richmond Hill & Etobicoke ON. (n.d.). Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://www.awesomephysiotherapy.com/what-is-radial-shockwave-therapy-a-quick-guide