What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy is a treatment offered to people in Vaughan by the physiotherapists in our Woodbridge clinic. Using a much lower energy than in medical applications, shockwave therapy is used in the treatment of many musculoskeletal conditions, primarily those involving connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons. It Is a non-invasive, simpler, faster, and safer treatment option. Some tendon conditions do not seem to respond to traditional forms of treatment such as rest, ice, therapeutic exercises, bracing and orthotics, therefore having an option of shockwave therapy allows a different treatment option for physiotherapists.

This type of treatment involves bursts of high frequency, high energy pulses which are transmitted into injured and painful tissues. To accelerate tissue healing and provide offshoot pain reduction, the short duration, high energy impulses of mechanical energy activate the injured target tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone, etc.) at a cellular level. Strong energy pulses are applied to the affected area. These pulses occur for short periods of time, creating micro-cavitation bubbles that expand and burst. The force created by these bubbles penetrates tissue and stimulates the osteoblasts and fibroblasts in the body. Osteoblasts are the cells responsible for bone healing and new bone production. Fibroblasts are the cells responsible for healing of connective tissue such as tendons. By stimulating these cells, it increases the metabolism of these tissue healing cells and enhances blood circulation. This approach is capable of accelerating tissue healing while also minimizing scar tissue production.

4 Benefits of Shockwave Therapy

  1. Cellular Level Changes
    1. A cellular increase in free radicals stimulate the release of natural metabolites that help prevent pain and resolve inflammation.
  2. Vascular Changes
    1. Quality blood flow is essential to tissue healing. Shockwave Therapy has been shown to stimulate angiogenesis (creation of new capillaries) in the target tissue. This redirects local blood flow to the area resulting in healthier tissue and improved healing.
  3. Reduction in Muscle Spasticity
    1. Research has demonstrated that SWT can reduce contractile activity of muscle and break neuro-cognitive pain patterns resulting in decreased muscle spasm, and elimination of myofascial trigger points.
  4. Reduced Pain
    1. Shockwaves act on interneurons in our A-β nerve fibers preventing communication of pain to our brain. This is known as the Gate Control Mechanism, and it has been shown to effectively reduce pain levels.
    2. Stated simply, shockwave therapy allows us to use the body’s natural response to acute injury in order to stimulate a healing response in tissues that are either slow to heal, or in which healing has stalled.

Conditions Treated By Shockwave

Shockwave therapy has shown to effectively treat the following conditions:

  • Feet – heel spurs, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles’ tendonitis
  • Elbow – Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow
  • Shoulder – Calcific tendinosis of rotator cuff muscles
  • Knee – Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)
  • Hip – Bursitis
  • Lower Leg – Shin Splints
  • Upper Leg – Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (IT Band Syndrome)
  • Back – Lumbar and Cervical Spine Regions and Chronic Muscular pain