Shock waves – facts and features
Shock waves are audible high-energy sound waves. They occur in the atmosphere, for example during lightning strikes, or when airplanes break through the sound barrier.
In the medical world, shock waves have been employed since around 1980 to disintegrate kidney stones, for instance. In modern pain therapy, shock wave energy is conducted from the place of its generation – the shock wave generator – to the painful body regions, where it unfolds its healing capacities.
How do shock waves work?
Shock waves accelerate the healing process by activating the body’s self-healing powers. They stimulate the metabolism and enhance the blood circulation. A damaged tissue gradually regenerates and eventually heals.
Which disorders can be treated?
- Shoulder pain, e.g. shoulder calcifications
- Tennis or golfer’s elbow
- Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee)
- Shin pain / tibial stress syndrome
- Achilles tendon pain
- Heel pain
- Chronic neck, shoulder and back pain
- Muscle tension caused by painful muscular nodules (trigger points)
- Knee osteoarthritis
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy has virtually no risks or side effects.
How successful is the therapy?
After only 4 or 5 sessions, over 80% of patients report painlessness or significant pain reduction.
How is the therapy performed?
The therapist localizes the pain region by palpation or shock wave localization and discusses the findings with you. A skin gel is then applied to the treatment area to allow the shock waves to be introduced into the body almost painlessly and without any loss of energy. After these preparations, shock waves are released as the shock wave applicator is moved over the pain region in a circular motion.
Duration and frequency of the therapy
The therapy session takes between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the disorder to be treated. In general, an average of 5 to 8 therapy sessions are necessary at weekly intervals.