How Does it Work?
The Science Behind the Shockwave Therapy
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) as it is known helps to accelerate the process of healing in the injured tissue. This is made possible by it stimulating metabolism and also enhancing the circulation of blood so as to regenerate any damaged tissue. Strong energy pulses are applied to the tissue for short periods of time which produces micro-cavitation bubbles which expand and burst. These bubbles create a force that penetrates and stimulates the cells in the body that heal the connective tissues and bones.
Shockwave Therapy, is most effective in chronic cases when the human body has not been able to heal itself. The treatment is non-invasive with the shockwave being an intense and short energy wave that travels faster than the speed of sound.
Shockwave Therapy for the past three decades has been used in breaking down of kidney stones in individuals and also used to treat soft tissue injuries such as calcific tendonitis of the shoulder, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, runner’s knees, shin splints, trigger point therapy and many other sports injuries.
The intriguing thing about this therapy is best used for treating chronic injuries. Normally, the human body requires six to eight weeks to heal an injury but if it is not able to do so, it will utilize its resources for something else. As the result, the initial injury turns into a repetitive chronic injury; scar tissue starts to infiltrate the soft tissue which has about 70% strength of the normal tissue. This will make that region susceptible to a relapse of injury. With shockwave therapy, it recreates another cycle of inflammation and sends the brain signals to make it think there is a new injury. The brain, in turn, restarts the healing process.
Physiological Effects of Shockwave Therapy:
- New Blood Vessel Formation: Blood flow is essential to repair process of damaged tissue. Application of shockwave causes formation of new blood capillaries in tendon and bone.
- Reversal of chronic inflammatory cycle: The activity of mast cells which are key components of inflammatory process is increased with acoustic sound waves.
- Production of collagen fibers: Collagen production is essential for repair process of damaged musculoskeletal structures.
- Breakdown of calcified fibroblasts: Acoustic waves are able to break down the calcification response to an old tendon tear.
- Pumping of Mediator “Substance P” out of the injured area: Substance P which is neurotransmitter and mediates pain to the brain is dispersed by the acoustic sound waves.
- Resolves Trigger points in the muscles: Trigger points which are typically found in the muscles of back and neck and the limbs are released by acoustic sound wave through opening the calcium pumps in the muscle fibers.