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What Are The Benefits Of Shockwave Therapy

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), commonly referred to as shockwave therapy, is a minimally invasive procedure. It uses strong sound waves to heal and reduce pain from sports injuries or tissue damage. 

Physicians first used ESWT in the 1980s to treat kidney stones. It became popular in Europe and the US in the early 2000s. Chiropractors now use it for treating tendonitis and plantar fasciitis among other conditions. 

Shockwave therapy offers several benefits. It aids natural healing, lessens inflammation, and stimulates blood flow to injured bones, tendons, or ligaments. It can help reduce discomfort, increase movement, and improve tissue healing in the affected area.

This blog post will discuss the benefits of shockwave therapy, the conditions it treats, and its role in managing musculoskeletal symptoms.

How Shockwave Therapy Works?

Shockwave therapy uses sound waves to heal musculoskeletal conditions, says Mayo Clinic. In this procedure a device sends pulses to the affected area to increase blood flow, heal tissue, and reduce pain.

Types of Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy treats different musculoskeletal conditions. Each type of therapy has its unique qualities to treat the injury. Here are two most popular types of shockwave therapy,

1. Radial Shockwave Therapy

  • It is the original and most used type of shockwave therapy. It uses a hand-held applicator to emit low-energy shockwaves that spread outward.

Mechanism of Action

The shockwaves of radial therapy cause minor injuries in the tissue, which helps it heal. This process improves blood flow, cell growth, and collagen production, reducing pain and improving function.

Conditions Treated

Radial shockwave therapy can help with a range of muscular-skeletal disorders, including,

  1. Plantar fasciitis
  2. Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  3. Trigger finger
  4. Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  5. Calcific tendinitis
  6. Achilles tendonitis 

2. Focused Shockwave Therapy

This therapy uses a unique tool to create strong shockwaves together in one spot – allowing for precise targeting of deeper tissues.

Mechanism of Action

Focused shockwaves, like radial shockwave therapy, create minor soft tissue injuries to promote healing. However, it gives more energy to break down scar tissue and hard deposits, causing additional effects.

Conditions Treated

Chiropractors use shockwave therapy for conditions requiring deeper tissue penetration and greater precision such as,

  1. Chronic tendon pain
  2. Non-union fractures
  3. Trigger points
  4. Muscle pain
  5. Osteoarthritis
What Are The Benefits Of Shockwave Therapy

Benefits of Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy has many benefits and is effective for different musculoskeletal conditions. Let’s delve deeper into each of the shockwave therapy benefits:

1. Pain Management

Shockwave therapy provides excellent pain relief. The therapy tool uses waves of sound to pinpoint pain, causing the body to secrete endorphins, which are natural painkillers.

Shockwave therapy can also assist in relieving pain by disrupting sensations of pain in the neurological system.

Shockwave treatment can aid with pain relief, but repeated sessions may be required for optimal outcomes. The number of sessions and pain relief duration depends on injury severity and type.

2. Improved Blood Circulation

Shockwave therapy promotes improved blood supply in the treated area. Sound waves cause tiny tissue tears, which the body repairs by sending oxygen and nutrients through the blood.

This increased blood flow accelerates the healing process and aids in tissue regeneration. Better blood flow reduces inflammation and swelling, helping to relieve pain.

It aids in providing nutrients and oxygen to damaged tissues, essential for healing and recovery.

3. Tissue Regeneration

Shockwave therapy stimulates the body’s natural tissue re-making process. Sound waves cause the release of substances that help cells grow and repair damaged tissue. This stimulation promotes the growth of new tissues and returns the wounded region to its original state.

Tissue regeneration is particularly beneficial for conditions affecting tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Shockwave therapy promotes tissue growth, reduces pain, and enhances mobility and function.

4. Reduced Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, and it can cause over time discomfort and slow healing. Shockwave treatment reduces inflammation by halting the process and prevents chemical mediators from being released.

This reduction in inflammation allows for faster and more efficient healing. It also helps ease pain and swelling, improving comfort and functionality.

5. Non-Invasive Nature

The fact that shockwave treatment is non-intrusive is one of its most enticing features. Shockwave therapy doesn’t need cuts or injections, unlike surgery or injections. It makes it a secure and easily tolerated therapeutic choice for the majority of people.

Shockwave therapy is safe because it doesn’t require surgery, so there’s no risk of infection or complications. It suits people with health issues or who don’t want invasive treatments.

6. Quick recovery Time

In comparison to alternative treatment methods, shockwave therapy provides a faster recovery period. Many people feel less pain after a few sessions. It heals in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the depth of the illness. 

This treatment helps people return to everyday lives faster which reduces the impact on work, personal life, and other responsibilities.

What Are The Benefits Of Shockwave Therapy

Is Shockwave Therapy Painful?

During the process, shockwave therapy may produce a little soreness or mild discomfort. Patients frequently report the feeling as pulsing or buzzing at the treatment location.

However, pain levels vary among individuals, and many tolerate it well. Discomfort is temporary, but the advantages, such as pain relief and improved healing, are typically worthwhile.

Effectiveness of Shockwave Therapy

Research and patient feedback shows that shockwave therapy is more effective than traditional treatments.

1. Research Studies and Trials

Shockwave therapy has been studied in clinical analysis for a number of ailments. Some key findings include,
Plantar Fasciitis

Shockwave therapy is better than placebo or other treatments for reducing pain and improving function. A study of 16 trials found that shockwave therapy had a 72% success rate for plantar fasciitis.


Research shows that shockwave therapy works well in treating different tendon problems, like Achilles tendinitis, tennis elbow, and rotator cuff tendinitis. A review of 13 studies found that shockwave therapy significantly reduced pain and improved function in patients with elbow tendinitis.


Research suggests that shockwave therapy can effectively reduce spasticity in patients with seizures and cerebrovascular accidents, and spinal cord damage. A systematic review reported evidence of improved motor function, motor impairment, pain, and functional independence with shockwave therapy.

Benefits of Shockwave Therapy for ED and Other Conditions

Shockwave therapy has also been investigated for treating different conditions like chronic pain, bone healing, and erectile dysfunction. While results are promising, further research is needed to confirm its effectiveness in these areas.

2. Success Rates in Various Conditions

Shockwave therapy’s success rates vary depending on the condition it treats. Here are a couple of such instances,
  • Achilles tendinitis: 65-80%
  • Lateral epicondylitis: 60-70%
  • Plantar fasciitis: 72%
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis: 50-60%
  • Spasticity: 40-50%
These are just estimates that can change based on the condition, seriousness, treatment plan, and patient’s health.

3. Patient Reviews

Patients often have positive experiences with shockwave therapy, feeling less pain and better function. Online forums and patient reviews show that shockwave therapy reduces chronic pain and improves mobility.

4. Comparison with Traditional Treatments

Shockwave therapy is better than surgery, medication, and physical therapy for various reasons.
  • Minimally Invasive: No surgical procedures or injections needed.
  • Minimal Adverse Effects: Usually effective with little side effects.
  • Quicker Healing: It may lead to faster pain relief and better function than other treatments.
Cost-Effectiveness: Less costly than operation and may eliminate the requirement for ongoing medications.
Effectiveness of Shockwave Therapy

Cost of Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy costs vary based on a number of factors, including:
  • Location: Prices vary based on the region, town, and institution.
  • Provider: Different practices have changing rates based on equipment, expertise, and overhead.
  • Sessions Needed to Run (usually 3-6): The total cost depends on individual treatment needs.
Here’s a general range for the average cost of therapy sessions:
  • Low: $100
  • Average: $250 – $350
  • High: $500 (4 sessions)

Insurance Coverage of Shockwave Therapy

Unfortunately, insurance coverage for shockwave therapy is often limited or unavailable. Insurers are unsure about the therapy’s effectiveness because they see it as “new.” Here are some potential scenarios:
  • No Coverage: This is the most common case, with patients responsible for the total cost.
  • Partial Coverage: Several insurance firms may pay a percentage of the cost, depending on the diagnosis and services network.
  • Pre-Authorization Required: Some insurers require pre-authorization before approving any coverage.
It is critical to get in touch with your insurer to learn about their shockwave treatment coverage guidelines. 

Ready to Relieve Pain and Fast-Track Your Healing Journey?

Book an appointment with our expert chiropractor today! Try shockwave therapy to transform your life and get rid of pain.

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Summary: Embracing Relief with Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy appears to be a potential treatment option for a variety of muscular disorders.

Shockwave therapy has several benefits. First, it does not need surgery. Second, it helps to reduce pain. Lastly, it improves your mobility. Although results may vary among people based on severity of the condition.

If you have pain or can’t move well, talk to an expert about shockwave therapy. It might help you take control of your health and embark on the journey towards a pain-free future.

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Dr. Craig Eymann

Musculoskeletal Injury Specialist

Dr. Craig Eymann

Musculoskeletal Injury Specialist

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