Ever wondered if shockwave therapy can assist your condition?
What is Shockwave Therapy (SWT)?
Shockwave Therapy (SWT) is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses high-energy sound waves to reduce pain and stimulate healing in the body. The sound waves are administered directly to the injury area with a state-of-the-art Swiss Dolorclast machine. This therapy has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, tennis elbow, and shoulder rotator cuff injuries.
How does it work?
The high-energy sound waves used in SWT stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. When the sound waves reach the affected area of the body, they cause the process of cavitation – a wavelike disturbance in the soft tissue, similar to waves created in the ocean by a ship’s propeller. This movement of the fluids within soft tissues increases blood flow and stimulates the production of growth factors and stem cells. These growth factors and stem cells promote the growth of new tissue and new blood vessels to repair the damaged tissue.
SWT also has the added effect of reducing inflammation markers in the affected area, resulting in less pain which makes performing rehabilitation exercise more comfortable and effective.
What conditions can it treat?
SWT is effective in treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including but not limited to:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinitis
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow
- Shoulder pain, including rotator cuff tendinopathy
- Hip pain, including bursitis and gluteal tendinopathy
- Knee pain
- Back pain
- Shin splints
- Neck pain
It is particularly effective for chronic tendon issues as these structures do not have much blood supply and often take a long time to heal. Shockwave artificially stimulates blood flow into the tendon, effectively resetting the healing process.
What are the benefits of Shockwave Therapy?
- Non-invasive: Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment, meaning that it does not require surgery or any incisions to be made in the skin.
- Quick recovery time: Most patients experience little to no downtime after shockwave therapy and can return to their daily activities immediately following the treatment.
- High success rate: Shockwave therapy has a high success rate in treating musculoskeletal conditions, with many patients experiencing significant pain relief after their first sessions. This is based on randomised controlled studies using the Swiss Dolorclast Shockwave therapy machine.
- No aggravation of symptoms: There is minimal risk of your condition becoming worse after treatment.
- Long-term improvement: Even after the course of shockwave treatment is complete, the treatment area will continue to heal and recover
- Cost-effective: Shockwave therapy is a cost-effective alternative to surgery or other invasive treatments.
What are the side effects of Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy is a safe and well-tolerated treatment. However, some patients may experience mild side effects such as:
- Mild pain or discomfort during the treatment
- Redness or bruising at the treatment site
- Temporary tingling or numbness in the treated area
- Temporary increase in pain
How effective is it?
There is high level evidence for the effectiveness of Shockwave Therapy in the treatment of plantar fasciopathy (fasciitis), Achilles tendinopathy, tennis elbow. This includes multiple randomised-controlled trials. There is also growing body of evidence for treatment of other non-tendon related conditions, such as frozen shoulder and knee osteoarthritis. In general, the best results were achieved when SWT was done alongside rehabilitative exercise and gradually return to activity.
In our own testing with the Swiss Dolorclast, we’ve found 80% of clients reported 50% improvement after a course of Shockwave Therapy.
When is Shockwave Therapy not suitable?
Shockwave therapy is generally considered a safe and effective treatment, however there are some situations where it is not recommended. Discuss with your physiotherapist before undergoing treatment if you have any of the following contraindications:
- Ruptured tendons
- Blood-clotting disorders
- Blood thinners medication
- Open wounds or infections at the treatment site
- Cancer or tumors in the treatment area
- Cortisone injection at the treatment site in the last 6 weeks
What does a Shockwave Therapy treatment session look like?
Your physiotherapist will start by assessing your condition with tests for function and pain.
Shockwave treatment is then administered directly to the source of your pain for a duration of 3-4 minutes. During this time, the energy of the shockwave will be gradually increased to apply as much as possible into the tendon. Your physiotherapist will check in with you throughout to ensure the treatment stays within tolerable comfort levels. While the shockwave can feel uncomfortable when applied, usually this is no worse than the discomfort you feel when your physiotherapist does a muscle or joint release.
After the treatment, your physiotherapist will reassess your function and pain tests to see what has changed. They will discuss your ongoing exercise and activity levels to ensure a safe recovery. The best results are achieved when shockwave therapy is done alongside continued rehabilitative exercise and gradually return to activity.
Shockwave Therapy FAQs
Is Shockwave Therapy painful?
Your physiotherapist will work with you to adjust the Shockwave energy to ensure the treatment is effective, but tolerable. While the initial phase of the treatment may be painful, this will gradually reduce as the treatment progresses. In fact, many clients feel an immediate reduction in pain following the treatment.
How many sessions of Shockwave Therapy will I need?
Based on the current clinical evidence and our experience, we recommend 5 sessions of Shockwave treatment. For best results, sessions should be booked at least 3 days apart but no longer than 7 days apart.
How long is a Shockwave Therapy session?
A Shockwave Therapy treatment takes 3-4 minutes, but please allow 15 minutes for your session (20 minutes if 2 areas are being treated).
Can Shockwave Therapy be used for conditions other than tendon pathologies?
Yes, Shockwave Therapy can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Your physiotherapist will thoroughly assess your injury to see whether it is an appropriate treatment for you.
Can I use my private health to claim my Shockwave Therapy sessions?
Yes, Shockwave Therapy sessions can be claimed with your physiotherapy extras.
If you are paying session by session, this can be done in the clinic after each treatment.
If you are on a Shockwave Therapy package, you will be emailed a summary statement after all your sessions are complete. This can then be used to claim through your private health fund.
What is the cost?
Cost per single session: $75.00
5-session package with a 10% discount: $375 – 10% = $337.50 ($67.50 per session)
or Call (03) 9370 5654
1. Pay up front for package and receive the discount. We will email you a statement to claim the sessions through your private health at the end.
2. Pay $75 each session and claim your private health as you go. Note: You may have a cap to your Physiotherapy rebates for the year.
Gerdesmeyer, L., Frey, C., Vester, J., Maier, M., Weil, L., Jr, Weil, L., Sr, Russlies, M., Stienstra, J., Scurran, B., Fedder, K., Diehl, P., Lohrer, H., Henne, M., & Gollwitzer, H. (2008). Radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy is safe and effective in the treatment of chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis: results of a confirmatory randomized placebo-controlled multicenter study. The American journal of sports medicine, 36(11), 2100–2109. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546508324176
Rompe, J. D., Segal, N. A., Cacchio, A., Furia, J. P., Morral, A., & Maffulli, N. (2009). Home training, local corticosteroid injection, or radial shock wave therapy for greater trochanter pain syndrome. The American journal of sports medicine, 37(10), 1981–1990. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546509334374
Rompe JD, Furia J, Maffulli N. Eccentric Loading versus Eccentric Loading plus Shock-Wave Treatment for Midportion Achilles Tendinopathy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2009;37(3):463-470. doi:10.1177/0363546508326983