Shockwave Therapy uses compressed air to accelerate a projectile within the shockwave machine, which then hits the applicator and produces kinetic energy. This creates a physical sound wave producing the “shock” in shockwave therapy (no, there’s no electric shock).
Shockwave therapy produces an inflammatory response which increases metabolic activity around the site of injury. This stimulates and accelerates the body’s healing process (remodels dysfunctional collagenous tissues, such as tendinopathies, trigger points, muscle strains, etc.), and can also be used to break down scar tissue/ calcifications. Shockwave also works to reduce pain by inhibiting the neurotransmitters that deliver the pain messages to the brain.
Approximately 2000 shocks are administered per treatment area (the duration of which is approximately 5 minutes). Every patient and condition is different so some patients may need more shocks or a longer duration but this will depend on the severity of the injury and chronicity (how long the condition or injury has existed). Normally three to five treatments are necessary at intervals as determined by your Practitioner.
Shockwave therapy has been shown to have a 80-90% success rate in clinical trails when treating appropriate injuries.
The short answer here is yes, shockwave treatment does hurt and is uncomfortable. This is one of the mechanisms it uses to reduce your pain levels. Your osteopath will always keen the pain level within your tolerable limits and can stop at any time if you need. Honestly though its not something people have needed to stop us doing as we build the intensity slowly and keep it as comfortable as possible.
Shockwave is a non-invasive procedure and doesn’t require any anaesthesia. You will likely experience some tenderness and discomfort but it is a generally short treatment that lasts under 5 minutes. Your Osteopath is able to adjust the machine to decrease the amount of pressure you feel to suit your tolerance level.
Some discomfort may be experienced 24-72 hours after treatment and you may also experience some bruising and swelling. However most people notice an immediate change in their presenting pain or condition.
A shockwave treatment will cost you $60 on top of your osteopathic consult fee. Sadly, health fund rebates are not available on the shockwave portion of your fee.
Your osteopath will discuss with you during your session if shockwave may benefit you. Your shockwave treatment will be used in conjunction with your osteopathy treatment and exercise rehabilitation.