Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that employs energy pulses, or “shockwaves,” to induce a healing response in injured and chronically painful soft tissues.
The waves are created by a tiny machine, transmitted by a cable and wand, and then delivered to the wounded tissues. These shockwaves promote an accelerated metabolism, an increase in collagen formation, the release of signalling molecules, and other natural biological processes that combat inflammation and speed up tissue regeneration.
As a result, shockwave therapy is usually regarded as an advanced conservative treatment for several types of chronic inflammatory pain. It may be a successful alternative to surgery for many patients.
So, here are some pros and cons of shockwave therapy you should know about.
Advantages of Shockwave Treatment
It is non-intrusive.
Shockwave treatment needs no incisions. The pulses are administered by contact with the skin. Extracorporeal means “outside the body,” so the process is commonly called extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
This alone makes it a very attractive alternative to surgery.
There is no downtime.
In contrast to surgery, there is no recovery period connected with shockwave treatment. You enter our office, the therapy is provided (typically within 15 to 20 minutes), and then you leave. It will not interfere with any tasks or activities of daily living that you could already undertake before your visit.
It is safe.
Shockwave treatment is highly secure. A few days after the surgery, you may feel minor side effects such as moderate swelling, bruising, or pains, but serious adverse effects are exceedingly uncommon.
It can expedite the healing process significantly.
For many patients, shockwave therapy is advised when “normal” conservative therapies (such as stretching, orthotics, and rest) fail to produce satisfactory outcomes. In many cases, shockwave treatment may “get you over the hump” and cure chronic pain without surgery.
But, shockwave therapy can also be introduced early in the process, in conjunction with more standard conservative treatments, to decrease the total healing and recovery period significantly. This is an interesting alternative for persons who wish to return to full activity as quickly as possible, such as athletes and those with physically demanding jobs.
Disadvantages of Shockwave Treatment
It is possible that your insurance does not cover it.
Although the FDA has authorised shockwave treatment and several research studies have demonstrated its safety and efficacy, many insurers have hesitated to cover the surgery.
That doesn’t mean it’s out of reach for the ordinary patient. It is typically a far less expensive option to surgery.
Nevertheless, finances are a significant factor for many families, so you may choose to delay the operation until you are confident that all covered, conservative treatment choices have been tried.
You may require many visits.
Depending on the severity of the injury, a typical course of shockwave therapy may involve two to three treatments. Compared to single-appointment therapies such as steroid injections, these sessions are slightly more inconvenient for individuals with hectic schedules.
Yet, a benefit of shockwave therapy is that the treatments promote tissue recovery. A steroid injection may relieve pain for several months but is merely symptomatic, and its impact is transient. In the long run, shockwave is not only the preferable option, but it may also be less time-consuming.
It’s not for everybody.
Although shockwave therapy is highly safe for most patients, there are a few instances in which it is not advised:
- Some cardiac disorders and pacemakers
- Using medications that prevent blood from clotting
In addition, depending on the severity of your symptoms, shockwave therapy may or may not be offered if you have neuropathy or hypersensitivity in the affected area.
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