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Shockwave Therapy in Kent: Effective Treatment for Pain

Shockwave therapy is a highly effective and non-invasive treatment for soft tissue and sports-related injuries like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, shin splints, plantar fasciitis and torn achilles tendons (achilles tendinitis). It works via a hand-held machine that passes high intensity acoustic energy through the skin to the specific areas of pain and damage. The shockwaves are low-energy sound waves that you can hear, and they increase blood flow in the damaged area. This breaks down scar tissue and tissue damage, allowing the body to heal naturally.

Shockwave is highly effective for persistent tendon pain and it works in two ways. The shockwaves work to desensitise the nerve endings, and this often results in immediate pain relief. They also cause microscopic damage to the scar tissues to which the body responds by increasing blood flow in the area, activating your body’s own healing process.

Studies have shown that Shockwave therapy is so good at reducing pain and increasing function in the damaged areas that the need for surgery is greatly reduced, if not removed. It is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as well as many independent studies.

What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment, where high-energy waves are passed through the skin to help relieve pain and promote movement in the affected area. It is an effective treatment if you are suffering from tendon, muscle or joint disorders.

What can Shockwave Therapy treat?

Shockwave therapy can treat a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendon pain
  • Jumper’s Knee
  • Runner’s Knee
  • Tennis and Golfers Elbow
  • Shoulder tendinopathy
  • Muscle pain
  • Back and neck pain

How long does it last?

Each session of shockwave therapy can last up to 15-20 minutes.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of sessions will depend on nature and severity of pain. You may need 3 – 6 sessions. The physiotherapist will discuss this with you after a thorough assessment.

Does the treatment hurt?

Some patients report discomfort during treatment, though this varies depending on the person, the body part and the condition being treated. Within the first few seconds, shockwave therapy causes temporary anaesthesia in the area being treated. This can help the clinician increase the frequency to therapeutically beneficial levels without causing too much discomfort. The anaesthetic effect can last for a few hours after treatment. Care should be taken not to over-exercise the treated area during this time. If treatment becomes too uncomfortable, let the clinician know.

Is it covered by private medical insurance?

Some private medical insurance companies do cover shockwave treatment. Please speak to your private medical insurance provider to find out if they would cover shockwave treatment.

Will it work for me?

Clinical studies have shown improvement of symptoms in the following conditions:

  • Myofascial trigger points1,6 – localised tender or painful area
  • Plantar Fasciitis7 – inflamed ligament across the bottom of the foot
  • Chronic Tendinopathies – swollen, painful tendons. e.g.:
    • Tennis/golfer’s elbow8
    • Achilles tendinopathy9
    • Shoulder tendinopathy & rotator cuff10

Is there clinical evidence supporting the use of shockwave?

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued guidelines for the use of Shockwave in treating four conditions: Achilles Tendinopathy; Calcific Tendonitis of the Shoulder; Plantar Fasciitis and Tennis Elbow

Is it safe?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that shockwave therapy is safe, although it can cause minor side-effects, including bruising and reddening of skin in the area being treated