What is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy?
In the body, these high-energy acoustic waves stimulate the cells and the body's intrinsic healing mechanism1. In Extracorporeal Focused Shock Wave Therapy, the wave is focused through a lens and transmitted into the body, up to a depth of about 4.7". You may have heard of high-energy Focused Shock Wave (F-SW) devices that can destroy tissues like kidney stones. The F-SW used in physical therapy offer low and medium energy F-SW that are not capable of destroying any tissue but are helpful in pain therapy treatments.
The number of treatments depends on two factors:
- The indication and how the tissue responds. Typically, 3-6 treatments are necessary with resolution of some symptoms being achieved by the third treatment.
- An improvement in function and pain relief is expected after the first treatment. Bear in mind that the treatment can have an analgesic effect for several hours after treatment**
Benefits of Extracorporeal Focused Shock Wave Therapy
- Short treatment time (minutes)
- Deep tissues can be reached
- Non-invasive and no known significant adverse effects
- Precise & targeted application
- Results in few treatments
- Alternative to medication
- Gollwitzer H, et al. Clinically relevant effectiveness of focused extracorporeal shock wave therapy in the treatment of chronic plantar fasciitis: a randomized, controlled multicenter study. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2015 May 6;97(9):701-8.
- Lou J, Wang S, Liu S, Xing G. Effectiveness of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Without Local Anesthesia in Patients With Recalcitrant Plantar Fasciitis: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2017 Aug;96(8):529-534.
- Schmitz C, DePace R. Pain relief by extracorporeal shockwave therapy: an update on the current understanding. Urol Res. 2009 Aug;37(4):231-4.
- Tamma R, dell'Endice S, Notarnicola A, Moretti L, Patella S, Patella V, Zallone A, Moretti B. Extracorporeal shock waves stimulate osteoblast activities. Ultrasound Med Biol. 2009 Dec;35(12):2093-100.