What is Shockwave Acoustic Therapy?
Shockwave Therapy is a non-invasive, advanced modality that uses acoustic wave pulsations to stimulates the body's natural healing response. Shockwave is also referred to as Acoustic Therapy, Low Intensity Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (LI-ESWT),, and/or Pulse Wave Therapy. No matter the term, the mechanism of action is the same.
The concept and technology of shockwave as a treatment modality evolved from the discovery that focused sound waves were effective in breaking down kidney and gallstones. Using a lower energy application, shockwave has proven successful in treating a multitude of musculoskeletal disorders. It works by stimulating microscopic interstitial and extracellular biological responses that produce a regenerative and tissue-repairing effect. Although it's been available for 30+ years, shockwave acoustic therapy has gained a significant amount of attention in recent years due to it's ability to resolve many types of erectile dysfunction and enhance male sexual response.
At OptimaLiving, we have found this modality to be extremely effective in treating both orthopedic and pelvic floor conditions. For complete resolution of symptoms, 3-6 sessions are generally required. However, most people experience significant pain relief, better mobility and increased function immediately following their first treatment.
Proven Benefits of Shockwave Therapy
- Causes new blood vessel formation
- Reverses chronic inflammation
- Stimulates collagen production
- Dissolves calcified fibroblasts
- Prompts the release of growth factor
- Disperses "substance P" - the neurotransmitter of pain
- Breaks down painful trigger points
- Restores movement and function
- Remodels scar tissue
- Reduces or eliminates need for pain medication
- Requires no down time or recovery time
- Provides long-lasting results
Mechanism of Shockwave Treatment
- Vessel Formation
- Substance P
- Trigger Points
Stimulates New Blood Vessel Formation
Nutrient blood flow is necessary to start and maintain the repair processes of damaged tissue structure. The application of acoustic waves creates capillary microruptures in and stimulates the expression of growth factors such as eNOS, VEGF, PCNS and BMP. As a result of these processes arterioles are remodeled, stimulated to grow and new ones are formed. The new blood vessels improve blood supply and oxygenation of the treated area and support faster healing and improved function.
Reverses Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation occurs when the normal inflammatory response to trauma is prolonged. It can damage healthy tissue and results in chronic pain. Mast cells are one of the key components of the inflammatory process and their activity is increased by using acoustic waves. Mast cell activation is followed by the production of chemokines and cytokines. These compounds first enhance the inflammatory process and in the next step help restore normal healing and the regenerative process.
Stimulates Collagen Production
The production of collagen is a necessary for the repair the damaged musculoskeletal and ligamentous structures. Shockwave therapy accelerates collagen synthesis. The therapy also forces the newly created collagen fibers into a longitudinal structures which makes the newly formed fibers more dense and creates a firmer, organized structure.
Dispersion of “Substance P”
Substance P is a neurotransmitter that stimulates afferent nociceptive fibers delivering pain signals to the brain. It is associated with intense, persistent and chronic pain. Acoustic waves generated by Shockwave therapy lowers the concentration of Substance P and triggers pain relief. Decreasing the concentration of Substance P also inhibits the development of inflammatory edema (swelling).
Dissolution of Calcified Fibroblasts
Calcium build-up is most often a result of micro-tears or other trauma to a tendon or muscle. This causes adhesion and lack of mobility. Acoustic waves break up calcifications. The granular particles of calcium are then removed by the lymphatic system.
Release of Trigger Points
Trigger points are the principal cause of pain in the back, neck, shoulder and limbs. They are associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers and have extremely contracted sarcomeres. The dysfunctional sarcomeres contract so tightly that they begin to cut off their own blood supply. This causes the waste products to build up. Waste product build-up irritates the sensory nerve endings which then causes even more contraction. This vicious cycle is referred to as “metabolic crisis”. The assumed mechanism of action is that the delivered acoustic energy unblocks the calcium pump and thus reverses the metabolic crisis in the myofilaments and releases the trigger points.
Orthopedic Conditions We Treat with Shockwave
- Plantar fasciitis
- Rotator cuff inflammation or tears
- Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
- Tennis or Golfer's elbow (lateral and medial epicondylitis)
- Achilles tendon pain or inflammation
- Jumper's knee (patellar tendonitis)
- Orthopedic post-surgical recovery (knee, hip, foot, ankle, shoulder)
- Chronic low back pain
- Shin splints
- Iliotibial band friction syndrome (IT band syndrome)
- Heel spurs and bunions
- Carpal tunnel
- Finger and hand injuries
- Chronic neck pain and tension
Shockwave Treatment for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Considering the utility of shockwave technology in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, it should be no surprise that acoustic wave therapy has proven to be an effective modality for the treatment of other pelvic floor disorders. Many conditions, (e.g., incontinence, dyspareunia and the urogenital changes of menopause), are often caused by loss of collagen, decreased circulation, poor tissue integrity, weakness, tension and/or myofascial adhesion. As an adjunct to pelvic floor therapy, shockwave can alleviate these conditions without the use of medication, surgical intervention or injections. As an added benefit, it's quick, painless and does not require recovery or down time.
Pelvic Floor Conditions that Improve with Shockwave
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Pieryone Disease
- Type 3 & Type 4 Prostatitis
- Chronic Pelvic Pain syndrome
- Post Ejaculatory Pain
- Incontinence following prostate surgery
- Hesitation, frequency or urgency of the bladder
- Incontinence after childbirth or around menopause
- Accidental Bowel Lleakage
- Scar tissue pain or adhesion
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
- Painful Bladder/Insterstitial Cystitis
Shockwave Acoustic Therapy is a powerful modality that helps us help you get better faster. We routinely incorporate LI-ECSW in our pelvic health and core orthopedic programs to ensure the best possible outcomes and quickest way to a healthy, happier you. Learn more. . .