What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive solution for chronic pain that uses high-energy acoustic pulses to promote healing as well as help repair and regenerate bones, tendons, and other soft tissues. The machine itself transfers compressed air creating energy that flows through the applicator head and comes out as an acoustic wave. This high-energy wave penetrates the tissues and promotes tissue repair and cell growth. Shockwave therapy has an analgesic effect and can decrease muscle tension while inhibiting spasms, it also increases collagen production, improves metabolism/microcirculation, and dissolves calcification build-up.

How Effective is Shockwave Therapy?

Many patients with chronic pain problems have been through various unsuccessful types of treatments. 80% of the same patients worldwide report that shockwave treatment has helped them eliminate their problem. This type of therapy has an excellent cost/effectiveness ratio due to the minimal amount of treatments recommended and the limited time it takes to receive the treatment.

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What Injuries or Conditions can Shockwave Therapy improve?

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Epicondylitis (tennis/golfers elbow)
  • Bursitis 
  • Tendonitis
  • Patella tip syndrome (jumper’s knee)
  • Achilles tendon pain
  • Hamstring pain
  • Shoulder pain (impingement syndrome, calcification etc.)
  • Tibialis anterior syndrome (shin splints)
  • Trigger points
  • Chronic pain

What Does a Shockwave Treatment Feel Like?

This largely depends on the area of the body being treated. On large muscle areas such as the lower back and glutes, it will feel like very minor tapping, kind of like a gentle massage. On more bony areas like hands and feet, it will feel like more sharp electric pulses even though no electricity is passing through, it is all high energy sound waves.

Does Shockwave Therapy Hurt?

There may be a slight feeling of discomfort during the treatment, depending on the level of pain you are already experiencing in the area. This therapy also has the ability to create new blood vessels by initiating an inflammation process, which may create heat and some pain. However, since the treatment only lasts about 5 minutes, most patients are able to tolerate the discomfort. Additionally, the intensity of the treatment can be adjusted throughout the session. 

Most patients will experience immediate pain relief following a shockwave treatment. However, within 2 to 4 hours after treatment, they may experience some soreness in the treated area. Most patients find the soreness relatively mind and find that it doesn’t limit their mobility.

How often can you have shockwave therapy?

The number of treatments varies depending on the indication and tissue response. We recommend receiving shockwave therapy treatment one time per week for at least 4 – 6 sessions. Depending on how the treatment is going, your therapist will discuss with you about continuing if needing more, or stopping treatment if deemed not beneficial for you.

What is the Difference Between Ultrasound and Shockwave Therapy?

Ultrasound therapy, although it seems similar to shockwave therapy, is actually quite different in its effect to heal. Ultrasound Therapy uses high-frequency sound waves to decrease inflammation and expedite the healing process. Whereas shockwave therapy has the ability to create new blood vessels by initiating an inflammation process.

They are both non-invasive therapies, but shockwave can cause slight discomfort during treatment sessions whereas ultrasound is gentle and pain free. Ultrasound can be used on acute injuries (new injuries within 3 months), and with the exception of muscle spasms shockwave therapy cannot be used on acute injuries.

Ultrasound

  • High frequency sounds waves
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Quiet machine
  • Gentle/painless modality
  • Can be used on an acute injury

Shockwave Therapy

  • High energy acoustic pulses
  • Increases inflammation
  • Loud machine
  • Slight discomfort during treatment
  • Cannot be used on an acute injury    (besides muscle spasms) 

Is shockwave therapy covered by insurance? 

Yes!  This therapy is billable under Physiotherapy and is covered under many extended health insurance plans.

How much does it cost?

Current pricing can be found on our services page. The patient would start with an initial consult and then based upon that a number of subsequent visits.

Next Steps

If you have questions about whether this treatment is right for you please give us a call (604) 474-1276

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