A noninvasive probe is applied to the skin. Acoustic pulses are generated with a precision ballistic mechanism in the handpiece. This acoustic pulse is transmitted directly into the human body tissue, creating a force that induces the healing process. The body is then stimulated to repair and heal itself.
What is extracorporeal shock wave therapy?
Shock wave therapy is a noninvasive method that uses pressure waves to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. High-energy acoustic waves (shock waves) deliver a focused mechanical force to the body’s tissues. Shock wave is proven medical technology; the original application of this type of technology was lithotripsy (breaking up of kidney stones) in the operating theatre setting.
What signs indicate this therapy is needed?
Shock wave therapy is an outpatient procedure. The shock wave handpiece is placed on the skin after a transmitter gel is applied to help conduct the acoustic pulses. Shock wave therapy is performed without anesthesia, as it is important that the patient gives bio-feedback during the treatment. Active patient participation makes the therapy more successful.
Patients typically bear weight right after treatment. Patients are advised to reduce the level of physical activity for one to two weeks after treatment. Shock wave therapy can give fast, good outcomes for muscle and tendon injuries as well as chronic degenerative conditions; examples include achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis.
The main complications are pain and hypersensitivity at the site of treatment, right afterwards. These problems should steadily resolve within a couple of days. Pain and disability may persist if the patient aggravates the pre-existing condition with too much activity right after treatment.
Is this a substitute for surgery?
Shock wave therapy is a non-invasive treatment which can help the patient achieve cure without surgery. The response to treatment can vary based on the individual. When conservative treatment options are exhausted, surgery may be what is needed.
When should I avoid this therapy?
Complications are infrequent with proper application of shock wave therapy by experienced healthcare providers. People who have poor sensation (neuropathy) or painful nerve damage (neuralgia) in the target area should not have this procedure. Open wounds and sores should also be avoided. Shock wave therapy should not used in patients with unstable heart conditions or seizures. Patients who are pregnant, who have blood clotting disorders, or are taking anti-coagulants should also avoid this therapy. Those who have had cortisone therapy up to six weeks before the first treatment should also avoid this therapy. If you are in doubt, please check with your physician before undergoing the procedure.
Is this covered by insurance?
This may depend on the insurance policy. Discuss this with your healthcare provider and contact your insurance carrier before having the procedure.