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  • Writer's pictureDr. Matt Teigen

Shockwave therapy

Updated: Feb 5

If you’re wondering what is shockwave therapy and how that helps the body function better - continue reading as Dr. Matt Teigen, our fascial movement specialist, breaks down the science.


Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses high-energy acoustic waves to stimulate the body's natural healing processes. The acoustic waves are delivered to the affected area using a handheld device, and the treatment is typically used to address musculoskeletal conditions such as tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and tennis elbow.

Medical shockwave machine on a black table top
This is the shockwave machine that Dr. Matt uses in-office with patients.


During the treatment, the shockwaves are focused on the affected area, creating microtrauma that triggers the body's natural healing response. This response includes the release of growth factors* and increased blood flow to the area, which can help to promote tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation and pain. A more recent discovery found that shockwaves can help to break down the chemical bonds (hyaluronan densifications) that restrict fascial movement. This can allow muscles to have a longer lasting release and when combined with fascial manipulation, even greater effects. Some of the effects include a decrease in pain, an increase in range of motion, and expedited healing times.



Dr. Matt Teigen  using the shockwave machine on a patient's leg muscles.
Dr. Matt working on a patient using the shockwave machine.

Shockwave therapy is typically administered over a series of sessions, and most patients experience some improvement in their symptoms within a few weeks of starting treatment. In our office, we use shockwave in combination with other techniques and often see long-lasting results in 1-3 visits, on average. While the treatment is generally considered safe and non-invasive, some patients may experience mild discomfort or bruising in the treated area following the procedure for up to a few days, though improvements have been documented to sometimes continue for a few months after the last treatment.


*growth factor refers to “a substance, such as a vitamin or hormone, which is required for the stimulation of growth in living cells”


References:


Yuan, X., Zhou, F., Zhang, L., Zhang, Z., & Li, J. (2018). Analgesic effect of extracorporeal shock wave treatment combined with fascial manipulation theory for adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder: A retrospective study. BioMed Research International, 2018, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/3450940


TOGNOLO, L., GIORDANI, F., BIZ, C., BERNINI, A., RUGGIERI, P., STECCO, C., FRIGO, A. C., & MASIERO, S. (2022). Myofascial points treatment with focused extracorporeal shock wave therapy (F-ESWT) for plantar fasciitis: An open label Randomized Clinical Trial. European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, 58(1). https://doi.org/10.23736/s1973-9087.21.06814-3


Giordani, F., Bernini, A., Müller-Ehrenberg, H., Stecco, C., & Masiero, S. (2019). A global approach for plantar fasciitis with extracorporeal shockwaves treatment. European Journal of Translational Myology, 29(3). https://doi.org/10.4081/ejtm.2019.8372


Schroeder AN, Tenforde AS, Jelsing EJ. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy in the Management of Sports Medicine Injuries. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2021 Jun 1;20(6):298-305. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000851. PMID: 34099607.


Stania M, Juras G, Chmielewska D, Polak A, Kucio C, Król P. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Achilles Tendinopathy. Biomed Res Int. 2019 Dec 26;2019:3086910. doi: 10.1155/2019/3086910. PMID: 31950037; PMCID: PMC6948318.




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