Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is a safe, non-invasive procedure used primarily for individuals suffering from muscle, tendon, and joint disorders. It is also used for promoting improved circulation and new blood vessel development (neo-vascularization) in certain conditions such as cardiovascular disease, Raynaud’s disease, and erectile dysfunction.

Shock waves used in medical technology are extremely short sound waves, that are comprised of intense pressure pulses, designed based on their varying degree of strength, to accomplish many different tasks, including: disintegrating kidney stones, reducing adhesions & scar tissue, promoting new blood vessel growth to increase circulation, and overall provoking healing or repair processes.

Research has shown Shockwave therapy to be highly effective in treating musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions by stimulating the body’s own natural healing response. The energy waves used cause break down of targeted dysfunctional tissue and increases blood flow. The body then responds by increasing local metabolism and production of new healthy tissue.

Common musculoskeletal conditions that can benefit from shockwave therapy include: tendinopathies / tendinitis – including: shoulder / rotator cuff tendonitis, frozen shoulder (calcific tendonitis and adhesive capsulitis), tennis or golfer’s elbow (epicondylitis / elbow tendonitis), Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, calcific tendonitis, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, jumper’s knee, shin splints, bursitis, trigger points, muscle strains, scar tissue treatment and myofascial pain syndrome.

Shockwave therapy has been scientifically proven to help with:

  • Plantar Fasciitis (90% improvement for Plantar Fascitis – Journal of Orthopaedic Research 2005)
  • Calcific Tendonitis (91% improvement in Calcific Tendonitis – Journal of American Medical Association 2003)
  • Lateral Epicondylitis/ Tennis Elbow (77% improvement for Tennis Elbow – The Journal of Orthopedics 2005)
  • Hamstring Strain (Shockwave Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy in Professional Athletes – The American Journal of Sports Medicine 2011)

The success rate has ranged from 65% to 91% improvement, with low and negligible complications (Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 2012). Shockwave therapy is a non-surgical option with results that, in some cases, can be as effective as surgery and should be considered when other treatment options have failed or the condition continues to return.

How many treatments will I need?

The research backed protocols outline that most conditions will require 3-5 sessions of shockwave therapy. An additional 2 sessions may be required if the condition is very chronic.

Does the treatment itself, hurt?

Treatment can be uncomfortable, but it is usually well tolerated. It is an intense 5 minutes that most people are able to justify and get through. Many clients experience a decrease or complete absence of pain immediately after treatment. Bruising, swelling, and on rare occasions, skin breakdown may occur.

There may be some soreness or throbbing 1-2 hours after the treatment session due to an inflammatory response of the body to the shockwave pulses. This is normal and is your body’s way of healing itself and regenerating the targeted tissue. This discomfort usually subsides after 1-2 days.

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Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) has been used medically to promote healing of bones, and other orthopedic strains.  Shock Wave Therapy has also been used to treat kidney stones.  At low intensity, Shock Wave Therapy can promote the generation of new blood vessels.  This Low Intensity Shock Wave Therapy (LISWT) has been used to treat heart conditions, chronic wounds, and peripheral nerve problems, because of this property.

The idea that Low Intensity Shock Wave Therapy could help treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED) came from this idea of promoting the growth of new blood vessels in the penis.  The logic being, that the subsequent improvement of blood flow to the erectile tissues from shock wave therapy should improve erection quality.  Studies have shown that this theory as it pertains to Erectile Dysfunction and Shock Wave Therapy is true.

Low Intensity Erectile Dysfunction Shockwave Therapy (EDSWT) is a form of shockwave therapy designed specifically for treating Erectile Dysfunction. It is a non-invasive, non-pharmacological, safe procedure that, unlike other current treatment options for ED (oral medications, vacuum pumps, injections or implants), all of which are palliative in nature, aims to restore the erectile mechanism in order to enable natural or spontaneous erections. It fixes vascular-related ED problems, rather than just treating the symptoms.

The shockwaves induce cellular microtrauma, which in turn stimulates the production of new blood vessels improving the circulation of the penis and allowing for the return of proper erectile function. New blood vessels are created in the penile tissue, which then enables one to achieve and maintain firm erections.

Research, including double-blind randomized control trials, confirm that LI-ESWT generates a significant clinical improvement of erectile function and a significant improvement in penile circulation without any adverse effects. The treatment works for almost everyone whose ED problems are vascular-related – around 70% of those with ED. Extensive clinical trials have shown significant improvement in erectile function for at least a year following treatment.  The therapy even enables patients with severe ED – for whom medications have had no effect, and whose only choices were vacuum pumps, injections, and implants – to become responsive to PDE5 Inhibitor treatments (medications such as sildenafil (Viagra).

Details:

  • Long term solution;
  • Shockwave therapy as a treatment for ED is approved in over 20 countries worldwide, including Canada. The European Association of Urology has listed shockwave therapy as a first line therapy for ED.
  • There are no reported side-effects during, immediately following, or post-treatment. Patients are able to return to their daily routines immediately following each treatment session.
  • Effective for men who do not respond to pharmaceutical treatments;
  • Each treatment session lasts approximately 20 minutes. The treatment requires no anesthesia or any other sedation.
  • The treatment is not painful; during the treatment session the patient may feel a pulsating sensation or vibration and hear a loud snapping sound. Some patients have reported a slight tingling sensation during the treatment that disappears as soon as the treatment session ends.
  • The entire treatment protocol consists of several sessions, which are conducted over a few weeks time.
  • Patients report discernible improvement within 2 weeks of beginning the treatment, with a high rate or satisfaction for more than a year following treatment – without reliance on PDE5 Inhibitors.
  • The majority of men report improvements after the therapy. The degree of improvement varies, so it is best to set expectations.
  • Generally, following the initial series of treatments, no additional treatments are required. However, the treatment can be repeated as often as necessary, since it is non-invasive, painless, and there are no side-effects.

Shock wave therapy is more effective in men who have a Vascular cause for Erectile Dsyfunction as opposed to Neurogenic Erectile Dysfunction (prostate surgery etc.).  Vascular causes of ED are often high blood pressure, diabetes, vascular disease, high cholesterol, or just lazy dysfunctional vessels.  Vascular and Neurogenic ED often co-exist though.

From the Journal Therapeutic Advances in Urology:
 LI-ESWT is a revolutionary treatment of ED, and probably possesses unprecedented qualities that can rehabilitate erectile tissue. The clinical improvement in subjective erectile function together with the significant improvement in penile hemodynamics following LI-ESWT confirm that LI-ESWT has unique properties that may create a new standard of care for men with ED. LI-ESWT is both feasible and tolerable and without any adverse or unwanted effects. Its main advantage is its ability to improve and potentially restore erectile function in men with ED without additional pharmacotherapy.”
 (Gruenwald et al, Therapeutic  Advances in  Urology . 2013 Apr; 5(2): 95–99. )