Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) or more commonly just called Shockwave, is a treatment used to manage pain and promote recovery for musculoskeletal soft-tissue injuries. Most commonly prescribed for those who have failed to respond to first-line physiotherapy, Shockwave is fast gaining empirical support to transform how non-surgical treatment is used in physiotherapy practice. Guidelines recently published by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend Shockwave as an effective treatment pathway for a number of chronic musculoskeletal conditions, when incorporated into a comprehensive rehabilitation plan.
Shockwave works by applying impulses of energy to targeted areas where there may be abnormal or damaged tissue. Radial waves spread inside the tissue and provoke a natural inflammation response, increasing blood flow to the area. By improving circulation, local metabolism speeds up; stimulating cell regeneration and decreasing oxidative stress. The shockwaves are also effective by decreasing nerve-sensitivity in the affected area. The outcome is faster recovery from injury and short-term pain relief for a number of chronic conditions.
Who is suitable for Shockwave?
Shockwave is recommended for those with chronic conditions not adequately resolved by more conservative methods over a significant period. Evidence supports the use of ESWT for conditions such as tendinopathy, Plantar Fasciitis and Greater trochanteric pain syndrome. There is a growing literature suggesting that ESWT may also be effective for promoting bone healing e.g. for injury of the metatarsals. Our team at Surrey Physio are also trialing shockwave for chronic back and neck pain.
How long does each session last?
An average treatment will last up to 15 minutes inclusive of assessment and review. Shockwaves are administered for approximately 3-5 minutes. A typical dose will be 2000 shocks.
Is it painful to have ESWT treatment?
Shockwave can be painful, however, your physiotherapist or osteopath will work with you to determine your pain tolerance. If the pain is too much, we’ll turn the power down. Generally we attempt to use the Shockwave on a high power setting which has been shown to provide effective and immediate pain-relief post-treatment.
How many sessions do I need?
A full assessment will be taken by your physiotherapist before you start treatment. This may include an MRI or ultrasound scan to confirm a diagnosis. On average, patients attend 4-5 sessions, however, this may need to be reviewed 8-10 weeks post-treatment to ensure long-lasting results.
How quickly will I see results?
Although there may be some immediate pain relief, it is important to remember that this does not mean the injury or condition is fully healed. Shockwave works best as part of a rehabilitation and treatment plan which may include other exercises or changes to help manage your condition. It is important to review progress regularly with your physician to ensure long-term results.
Are there any side-effects?
You may experience a slight reddening or swelling of the affected area post-treatment, however, for most people, this is accompanied by a reduction in pain.
How much does it cost?
At Surrey Physio, we are currently offering Shockwave treatment at a discounted rate of £60.00 for private paying patients. This includes the consultation with the physiotherapist or osteopath. The session lasts around 15-20 minutes.