Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, (or ESWT), is a multidisciplinary device used in orthopaedics, physiotherapy, and sports medicine. Its main assets are fast pain relief and mobility restoration. Together with being a non-surgical therapy with no need for painkillers makes it an ideal therapy to speed up recovery and cure various indications causing acute or chronic pain.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy is a highly effective treatment used to target specific damaged tissues within the abnormal tendon. It is usually given to patients as a second line of treatment if they fail to respond to appropriate physiotherapy or other conservative treatments.
At LycaHealth, we provide free physiotherapy assessments to help identify whether you will need ESWT or whether you will need an alternative treatment. We provide a variety of physiotherapy services – get in contact with our team to book your free physio assessment. You can check our availability and book your ‘free discovery session’ on our online booking portal.
ESWT is a type of therapy that is widely used in physical therapy and orthopaedics whose main outcome is rapid pain relief and restoration of mobility. As a non-surgical treatment that does not require painkillers, it is the ideal treatment to provide prompt recovery of a number of acute or chronic conditions.
Shockwaves are high-frequency waves that carry high energy to painful areas in tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. This energy promotes the natural regeneration and reparative processes of the target tissues. The energy is produced by compressed air which is transferred to the transmitter at the end of the applicator and then finally into the targeted tissues.
ESWT is used in to treat common musculoskeletal conditions such as:
We will carry out an initial assessment to identify the exact area of pain, where we will then apply a gel to the problem area. A probe delivering shockwaves is pressed onto the skin of the affected area. These energy impulses are shockwaves that spread inside the damaged tissue to initiate an ‘inflammation-like’ response. The body will be prompted to respond naturally by increasing blood circulation, the number of blood vessels and therefore metabolism in the damaged tissue.
The ESWT is usually performed at weekly intervals for the best results. Each treatment takes about 20 minutes and you may need 3 – 5 treatment sessions in total, depending on what you are advised. The intensity of shockwaves are likely to be increased through your treatments, starting with a low level during your first treatment and increased to where you remain comfortable.
The shockwaves are not painful, however they may be a little uncomfortable – they are felt as pulses. This procedure does not require any type of sedation or anaesthetic.
Once you have received shockwave therapy, you may experience an immediate improvement in symptoms, whilst others may take a few weeks to respond and receive the overall benefit. As a side effect, you may notice a swelling or reddening of the treated area, and few people experience a slight bit of pain. We recommend that one of our GPs reviews your process at around 6-8 weeks to assess your progress.