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What is Shockwave Therapy? How does it help?

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Learn about physiotherapy heading image

What is Shockwave Therapy? How does it help?

Shockwave therapy or ‘extracorporeal shockwave therapy’ (ESWT) can be found in many physiotherapy clinics and the number is growing. Shockwave is the application of sound waves of very specific characteristics to the human body. The sound waves produce mechanical pressure and cavitations (release of gas bubbles).

There is much more to understand about shockwave, but it is believed shockwave improves healing by stimulating certain cells and chemical growth modulators within our tissues¹. Because of these effects. shockwave is most often used to treat tendons, ligaments and connective tissue. These tissues have poorer blood supply than most other tissues and consequently longer healing times. Therapists try to maximize the healing potential of the affected tissue by using shockwave to stimulate local cellular processes.

Many patients experience success with shockwave. The success of any treatment is determined by many variables. The risks and benefits of shockwave should be discussed with your physiotherapist prior to commencing treatment.

1.C.M. Waugh, D. Morrissey, E. Jones, G.P. Riley, H. Langberg, H.R. Screen In vivo biological response to extracorporeal shockwave therapy in human tendinopathy Eur Cell Mater, 29 (2015), pp. 268-280

Please note

This article is not intended to be a literature review.  While some literature may be cited in some cases, this article should not be used as scientific-evidence of a treatment or service.  Please contact your physiotherapist or other appropriate health care provider to better understand the scientific literature supporting or refuting the use of a particular treatment.

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