Is Shockwave Therapy Painful?
“Just how painful is shockwave therapy?”
Every shockwave therapy patient of mine has begun their session with a similar question. Everyone wants to know what to expect when the machine turns on… well, I’m here to tell you!
Although shockwave therapy can be uncomfortable, it is generally not a very painful experience. That being said, pain is a subjective measure and is highly dependent on individual pain tolerance. The intensity of sensation associated with shockwave therapy will range based on initial pain levels prior to treatment, as well the sensitivity of the region being treated. For example, using shockwave therapy on bony joints such as the wrist and knee will feel a little more uncomfortable than on softer areas such as the hamstring or trapezius muscles.
So why does it hurt?
Well, shockwave therapy works by sending high-energy acoustic waves into tissues beneath the skin. The waves create microtrauma in the tissues which leads to increased blood flow, cell metabolism, and regeneration. When the targeted area for treatment is close to a bone, the acoustic waves may cause vibration, which contributes to the feeling of discomfort that some people experience. But don’t worry! Treatment typically only lasts for 3-5 minutes, so even the “worst” areas can be tolerated easily.
Another question that might be running through your head now is, “Is it safe?, and I can also answer that one for you!
Shockwave therapy is most definitely safe when used appropriately. This form of treatment has been around for many years within the medical field, although its original use was a lot different (shockwave therapy was originally created as a non-invasive way to treat kidney stones!) For physio purposes, however, shockwave therapy may be used on just about anyone as long as they are not currently pregnant, undergoing treatment for cancer, or have a history of blood-clotting disorders.
And if you may be wondering if shockwave therapy is the right treatment for you…
Shockwave has been shown to be a very effective method of treatment for tendinopathies, chronic pain, and stubborn muscular tightness that won’t respond to other forms of soft tissue treatment. If you are struggling with one or more of these issues, shockwave just might be the solution you’re looking for!
Common issues treated by shockwave:
- Jumper’s Knee/Patellar Tendinitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Tennis Elbow
- Frozen Shoulder
- Osgood-Schlatter Disease
- Myofascial Trigger Points
- Heel Spurs
- Shin Splints
- Achilles Tendinitis
- Hamstring Tendinitis
- Calcific Shoulder Tendinitis
- Hip/Knee/Shoulder Bursitis
- IT Band Friction Syndrome
If you’re interested in learning more about shockwave therapy and how it could benefit you, reach out to us and a member of our team will be happy to answer any of your questions.