Radial Shockwave Therapy

Therapeutic shockwaves were initially introduced medically for eliminating kidney stones. It was noticed however that this treatment also had positive effects on accelerating bone and soft tissue healing.

Radial Shockwave Therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, uses compressed air to drive a projectile within a cylinder inside the handpiece into a shock transmitter. This produces a high energy acoustic shockwave that transmits pulses into the underlying tissue. It does not involve electrical pulses, but a mechanical impulse to the site of injury.

RSWT is a non-invasive, drug-free treatment for chronic and sub-acute injuries, with proven benefits in pain reduction and reducing recovery times. Clinical studies report success rates of above 80%. 

To book your radial shockwave therapy appointment, click here.

How does RSWT work?

RSWT is used to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. The acoustic wave interacts with the tissues of the body, leading to several beneficial effects including:

  • Pain Reduction
    the intense pulses from the handpiece help to inhibit the transmission of the pain signal
  • Stimulation of the body’s natural healing responses
    Shockwaves influence the tissue on a cellular level, promoting the release of pain inhibiting and inflammatory inhibiting substances. RSWT also stimulates the production of collagen and promotes new blood flow to the treated area promoting tissue regeneration and healing.
  • Reduces tone in tight muscles/releases trigger points
    Shockwaves help to restore a normalised muscle tone when used over muscle trigger points as well as by reducing the impact of pain on the nervous system.
  • Helps break down bony calcifications
    Shockwave is one of the most useful tools for the treatment of calcific tendons in the shoulder and other joints. 

What can RSWT Treat?

In Physiotherapy, RSWT is mostly used for the treatment of chronic muscular and tendon disorders, back and cervical pain and trigger point treatment. The following conditions may benefit from RSWT Physiotherapy:
Shoulder tendonopathy / bursitis / calcifications
Tennis / Golfers elbow
Plantar Fasciitis (Heel Pain)
Gluteal tendonopathy / Greater trochanteric pain syndrome
Patella Tendonopathy (Jumper’s Knee)
Medial tibial stress syndrome (Shin Splints)
Achilles tendinopathy
Iliotibial band syndrome (Runner’s knee)
Trigger Points / Tight Muscles
Bony non-union
Osgood-Schlatters disease
The physiotherapists at 4 Life Physiotherapy are trained in dry needle acupuncture and often use it in conjunction with other physiotherapy modalities as part of your overall treatment plan.

How Many Treatments are needed?

Most conditions require three to five sessions. The shockwave treatments take 5 to 10 minutes to complete and are usually performed 5 to 7 days apart.

Clinical studies report that approximately 80% of all patients report a substantial improvement in pain and symptoms after the second treatment. Due to the stimulation of the body’s natural healing processes, you will continue to make further improvements over two to three months following the treatment.

RSWT is most effective when used as part of a holistic physiotherapy treatment approach, including soft tissue massage, manual therapy, strapping, activity modification, and most importantly exercise rehabilitation. 

RSWT Frequently Asked Questions?

Research shows that the best results are achieved when RSWT is provided in conjunction with an appropriate exercise rehabilitation program. Your physio will give you exercises to complete as part of your treatment. Performing these exercises as prescribed will reduce your recovery time and reduce the risk of injury recurrence.

There may be some discomfort during treatment depending upon the level of pain that you are already experiencing and the area being treated. Since the treatments only last for about five minutes, most patients are able to tolerate this discomfort quite well. The pulses should feel strong, but they should also be within your tolerance level. The intensity of the treatment can be adjusted during each session within your comfort levels. Generally the higher the intensity the better the result will be.

Most patients will experience a reduction in pain and improved mobility and function immediately following treatment. You may start to experience some dull soreness in the treated area within a few hours after treatment. This soreness is generally very tolerable and it may last from a few hours to a couple days. 

It is recommended that patients refrain from high-intensity physical activity involving the treated region for 48 hours following each treatment session.
RSWT is a safe and non-invasive treatment modality. Minor side effects can occasionally occur following treatment with RSWT. Any side effects will usually appear within one to two days and settle within three to five days. These may include:
  1. Reddening of the area
  2. Swelling
  3. Post treatment soreness
  4. Bruising
  5. Red Spots (Petechiae)
  6. Skin Lesions

RSWT is a safe and non-invasive treatment modality. Minor side effects can occasionally occur following treatment with RSWT. Any side effects will usually appear within one to two days and settle within three to five days. These may include:

  1. During Pregnancy
  2. Post Operation
  3. Osteoporosis
  4. Growing Children – application over a growth plates
  5. Blood Clotting Defects
  6. Pacemaker
  7. Neoplasms / Tumours at or near the treatment site
  8. Infections
  9. Mental Disorder
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