Shock Wave Therapy is a non-surgical technique developed for the treatment of localized musculoskeletal pain. Radial Shock Wave Therapy is the form of shock waves that are used in my office. They involve the application of a series of high-energy impulses to an affected area. The shock wave is a physical shock, not an electric one, that is used to shock the body into healing by create a localized inflammatory response. The body responds by increasing the metabolic activity around the site of treatment, therefore stimulating and accelerating the healing process. Shock wave therapy can also help break down scar tissue and calcified areas as well.

Shock wave therapy is used for both pain relief and to accelerate healing by a complex interaction of the following:

  • Removal of neurogenic inflammation
  • Release of growth factors
  • Changes in gene expression
  • New bone formation
  • Activation of mesenchymal stem cells

What areas of the body or conditions can be treated?

Shock wave or Radial Shock Wave Therapy (RSWT) is a non-surgical technique developed for the treatment of localized musculoskeletal pain. Common conditions that can be successfully treated with RSWT are:

  • Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis and/or Heel spurs)
  • Patellar Tendonitis/tendonosis (Jumper’s knee)
  • Achilles tendon pain (Achilles Tendonitis/tendonosis)
  • Tennis and Golfer’s elbow
  • Rotator Cuff tendonitis including calcifying tendonitis
  • Shin pain / tibial stress syndrome
  • Chronic neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Muscular trigger points
  • Very tight fascia and muscles
  • Connective Tissue Pain and Degeneration

There is quite a bit of evidence supporting the use of shock wave therapy. Although some other conditions have not shown as much research on the efficacy of shock wave therapy, In recent years there have been some promise in the use of shock wave therapy for spinal cord injuries, adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder), stroke rehabilitation, and some urogenital conditions. Shock wave therapy is a non-surgical option with results that match surgical outcomes, and should be considered when other treatment options have failed or when surgery is not an option. In many situations, shock wave therapy is combined with other therapies to get the most effective results for patient care.

How is Shock Wave Therapy performed?

After a thorough patient history, detailed assessment, and the use of a musculoskeletal ultrasound I, Dr. Nick, will determine if shock wave therapy is for you. If you are a candidate for shock wave therapy, the primary area of pain is localized and a skin gel is applied to the treatment area to allow the shock waves to be properly transmitted into the body. In addition to the localized area of treatment, a global approach to your care is considered, making sure that the dysfunctional movement patterns are rectified so that you do not have a recurrence of symptoms.

You are scheduled for an initial course of therapy which includes four (4) to six (6) treatments. Three of the treatments are only for shock wave therapy, which is often used in conjunction with laser therapy. You will also be scheduled for an active rehabilitation session to implement exercises that will be used to enhance the strength and endurance of your affected areas as well as increase the mobility of the entire area. A few other manual therapy sessions may be added to work on some of the other dysfunctional tissues either being the initial cause of the problem or that may have developed as a compensation of your symptoms.

How does Shock Wave Therapy feel?

Shock wave treatment sessions can be uncomfortable, but they are usually well tolerated.

What will I experience after a Shock Wave Therapy session?

After a shock wave therapy session you will most likely be feeling no pain but you may experience throbbing pain 2-4 hours following the treatment. This throbbing pain may occur for up to 24 to 48 hours. In rare cases, patients may experience temporary skin reddening, pain or worsening of symptoms during the first few days after treatment.

It is important that following shock wave treatment activity levels are decreased for 48 hrs following the treatment.

Contra-Indications for Shock Wave Therapy

  • Pre-ruptured tendons (greater than 50% tear of myotendinous junction)
  • If under the age of 18 (except of the treatment of Osgood-Schlatter or Sever's Disease)
  • During pregnancy
  • Cancer or diabetes
  • Heart or circulatory problems
  • If you have hemophilia or any blood-clotting disorder (including local thrombosis)
  • If patient is being treated with oral anticoagulants (blood thinning medications), such as Heparin or Coumadin
  • Treatment of tissue with local tumors or local bacterial and/or viral infections
  • If a patient has been treated with cortisone injections within the last six (6) weeks

If you would like to find out if Shock Wave Therapy is right for your condition, Call the Clinic Now


CAUTION: The above is only a guide and should not be used as a substitute for being evaluated by a regulated health care professional that has experience in managing whiplash associated disorders. If you have any questions about your condition, please feel free to contact me at your convenience. If you feel that this is a medical emergency, please visit your closest hospital emergency department.