Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that involves creating a series of low-energy acoustic wave pulsations which can cause a physical, and biological reaction when applied to the human body.

For example:

  1. The physical reaction of shockwave:
    Use to break up gall bladder stones or kidney stones.
     

  2. The biological reaction of shockwave:
    Use to promote healing of tissues, neovascularity (formation of new blood vessels) pain reduction, increase in metabolism at the cellular level, and recovering normal muscle tone.

What are the applications of shockwave?

Shockwave can be used in many aspects of treatment but in an unskilled handler, it can be dangerous and may not achieve the expected results.

Shockwave is really a versatile machine that can be applied in numerous cases and conditions. It can be used for:

  1. Erectile dysfunctions
    Shockwave can be used to increase blood flow to the penis therefore enhancing erections.

     

  2. Relieve pain
     

  3. Frozen shoulder
     

  4. Osteoarthritis of the knee
     

  5. Achilles tendinopathy
     

  6. Plantar fascitis
     

  7. Breaking up kidney and gall bladder stones.
     

  8. Post-stoke limb hypertonia
     

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How is shockwave performed?

Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) is a non-invasive treatment in which a device is used to pass acoustic shockwaves through the skin to the affected area. The shockwaves can be either focused or unfocused (often referred to as radial shock waves). The focused shockwaves are generated using electrohydraulic, electromagnetic, or piezoelectric energy. The unfocused shockwaves are generated pneumatically. Ultrasound guidance may be used to assist with the positioning of the device.


Treatment protocols for ESWT vary according to the energy density and frequency of shockwaves. ESWT may be applied in a series of treatments or a single session.

Local anesthesia may be administered before treatment because high-energy ESWT (>0.12 mJ/mm2) can be painful; however, there is evidence that the use of local anesthesia may adversely influence the outcome of ESWT. Low-energy ESWT (EFD ≤0.12 mJ/mm2) can be used repeatedly and does not need local anesthesia.

 

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Is shockwave safe?

Shockwave is relatively safe for people of all walks of life. The sound generated by the machine may be frightening but it is a painless procedure and may even offer immediate relief during acute pain.

How effective is shockwave?
Please look for doctors who are experienced in using this machine, as the effectiveness is operator dependent. Take for example a patient with a frozen shoulder; when my staff does the shockwave, I always get feedback that it is less effective as compared to when I do it. I have trained my staff to do shockwave but they are still unable to achieve good results as compared to when I do it. The possible reason that I have a better effect is because of multiple factors like the amount of pressure used, different techniques to reposition the joint, and even the machine setting will influence the outcome of treatment effectiveness which varies from one operator to another.