If you suffer from chronic pain that just won't quit, you may have tried countless treatments searching for relief. But if anti-inflammatories, chiropractic or physical therapy, injections or even surgery haven't provided lasting results, it may be time to look into a newer option - shockwave therapy.
Shockwave therapy uses acoustic sound waves to stimulate healing of damaged tissue. It's a non-invasive treatment that's gaining popularity for stubborn cases of tendinitis, plantar fasciitis and other musculoskeletal pain.
Your body is not being 'shocked'. These are soundwaves that are really pressure waves for the lower intensity machine, called Radial Pressure Wave Therapy.
Curious if it's right for you? Here are 5 steps to take:
1. Identify If You Have a Condition That Responds to Shockwave
Shockwave therapy has proven results for heel pain, tennis elbow, jumper’s knee and shoulder pain from rotator cuff issues or calcific tendinitis. It also shows promise for back pain, shin splints, osteoarthritis and more. Talk to your doctor about whether your type of pain might benefit.
2. Find a Reputable Provider
Many pain management clinics, physical therapy centers and sports medicine practices now offer shockwave therapy. Do your homework to find an experienced provider with the latest equipment and protocols. Search online reviews and ask for patient references to hear first-hand experiences.
3. Discuss Costs and Insurance Coverage
A typical treatment plan involves 3-6 sessions spaced 1-2 weeks apart. Verify your insurance coverage as some plans now cover shockwave therapy. If not covered, many practices offer payment plans. Compare costs between providers.
Cornerstone Physical Therapy is 100 dollars per session with an average of 5 sessions needed for most conditions.
4. Try a Session and Evaluate Your Response
Shockwave therapy is done right in the office and sessions last 15-30 minutes. Most patients tolerate it well, feeling just minor discomfort during the treatment. Give it a try and take note of changes in your pain levels in the following days and weeks. Positive response is cumulative over the full treatment course. This means you keep getting better as treatments progress!
5. Combine with Rehab Exercises
To boost and maintain the pain relief from shockwave therapy, commit to doing rehabilitative exercises assigned by your provider. This step is critical to reinforce healing and correct underlying movement dysfunction.
The success of Shockwave Therapy is dependent on addressing any underlying joint, nerve or connective tissue/muscle problems as well as any current behaviors or activities that might be re-injuring your body.
While more research is still underway, shockwave therapy holds promise for chronic pain without the risks of medications or surgery. Use these action steps to pursue this innovative option on your journey toward relief.