All About Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or ESWT, is defined as a treatment that is considered noninvasive that uses shock waves on the soft tissue of an injury to lessen the pain and aid in the healing process. First introduced in the early 1980s, it was used to manage urologic conditions and successfully treated urinary stones quickly. Since then, it has continued to grow in popularity.

What Is It?

ESWT, also known as stem wave therapy, uses a machine to stimulate a person’s body to heal naturally by encouraging circulation and stem cell activity. It helps speed the cellular healing process by sending signals throughout the body to send stem cells to the area that is injured. It can help with many injuries such as carpal tunnel, knee or joint pain, sciatica, shoulder pain, or a sprained ankle. It has been shown to reduce pain and acute inflammation related to these injuries.

How Does It Work?

ESWT works by holding the machine against the skin and then conducting a high-energy acoustic wave that will get deep into the body. This acoustic wave then sends pulses to the injured area. There should not be any pain or discomfort associated with the treatment if there is no active joint or muscle pain. If there is a level of pain, the shockwaves will then focus on the source of the pain and use gentle pulses around the area. This could cause a small amount of discomfort but is said to be bearable for most patients.

Blood flow is increased towards the injury through the soundwaves, which stimulate the body to start the healing process. The extra blood flow increases the number of nutrients to the injured area, helps form new blood vessels, and starts the regeneration and renewal of bones and tissue.

What To Expect?

This treatment is a noninvasive procedure that is given on an outpatient basis. It is a quick procedure that usually requires the patient to either lie down or sit on a bed. At the same time, the medical professional applies a considerable amount of gel used for ultrasounds to the area where the injury is located before they place the device on the area.

As stated previously, during the actual treatment, there may be a level of discomfort, but nothing too terrible. After the treatment, the patient can go straight home, but it is recommended to avoid any strenuous activities for a couple of days. After treatment, a few things patients will notice immediately will be an improvement in their stability, inflammation and stiffness decrease, better mobility, and reduced pain.

What Are the Benefits?

ESWT is incredibly beneficial for those living with an injury or condition and the pain levels associated with it. These treatments bring almost immediate relief to the pain and reduction of inflammation. It also has the potential to restore a person’s mobility without surgery, painkillers, or any medication. There are a wide variety of conditions this therapy helps with, such as tendonitis, back pain, tennis elbow, erectile dysfunction, jumper’s knee, spine or neck trauma, and sports injuries.

This therapy can help those living with pain no longer have to live that way. It is safe for anyone, regardless of medical history or age. It has minor side effects, but it is safe and straightforward overall. For those who cannot take certain medications, it can prove to be incredibly beneficial. ESWT can also be combined with other treatments such as orthopedics, physiotherapy, veterinary medicine, sports medicine, and urology.

When given a choice between going through an extensive surgery that comes with a lot of pain and a more extended rest period or a treatment that is a quick in-and-out procedure that barely interrupts a person’s day and does not have much pain associated with it, the decision is easy. ESWT is excellent for providing the necessary solution to anyone suffering from any level of pain or joint problems. The best part is the lack of side effects and the ease of the procedure.

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