According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 258,000 physical therapists in the US in 2019. Government analysts expect the field to grow by 18% over the next decade.
If you’re among the millions of Americans seeking treatment for pain or injuries, you want the most effective and up-do-date therapies available. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) can successfully treat many musculoskeletal conditions.
Find out what extracorporeal shock wave therapy can do for you, and learn how you can benefit from treatments in the privacy of your own home.
1. One Name, Several Types of Treatments
The term extracorporeal shock wave therapy can actually refer to several types of treatments. Two of the most common are radial or low-energy shock wave therapy and ultrasound shock wave therapy.
Low-energy shock waves are pressure waves. They have a slow impulse and a low energy density. They spread to treat a larger area at a superficial depth in the body.
Ultrasound waves have periodically alternating phases with limited bandwidth. They’re high frequency but low energy. They cause cells to vibrate, and they create heat.
Radial shock waves and ultrasound work somewhat differently, but they can both give you good results.
2. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy Is FDA Approved for Some Applications
A growing number of scientific studies demonstrate the effectiveness of extracorporeal shock wave therapy in treating various conditions. Based on this evidence, the FDA has approved ESWT as a treatment for plantar fasciitis and tennis elbow.
Approval for other uses is likely as researchers conduct further studies.
3. ESWT Is a Noninvasive Treatment
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is noninvasive. It’s a good option if you’re trying to avoid surgery.
Low-energy shock wave therapy doesn’t require anesthesia or other sedation. You don’t need painkillers afterward.
The side effects are mild. You may experience tingling in the treated area. Depending on the treatment’s intensity, some patients have slight bruising, swelling, pain, or numbness. These effects are temporary.
The risk of complications is very low compared to surgical intervention.
4. ESWT Can Treat Chronic Pain
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy can help treat chronic pain. In fact, shock wave therapy effectively treats acute, subacute, and chronic pain. Acute pain lasts less than 6 weeks. Subacute pain lasts from 6 to 12 weeks, and chronic pain lasts longer than 12 weeks.
Shock wave therapy is beneficial for patients with painful muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It’s a good option if you have joint or bone conditions. Some of the conditions it can treat include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Tennis elbow
- Achilles tendonitis
- Runner’s knee (patellofemoral syndrome)
- Shin splints
- Hip bursitis
Studies have also shown the effectiveness of ESWT in treating chronic back pain. Adults in the US report lower back pain more frequently than any other type of pain. ESWT is a much safer option than the opioids that doctors often prescribe.
5. Shock Wave Therapy Is Beneficial for Athletes of All Levels
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is a popular option in sports medicine. It treats many of the overuse and acute conditions that affect athletes of all levels.
If an athlete’s injury doesn’t respond to conservative treatments like rest, ice, and physical therapy, ESWT can be the next step. You may be able to avoid surgery or other invasive procedures.
The side effects of shock wave therapy are mild, and the recovery time is short. Athletes typically take a day or two off from training after a treatment, but they don’t need to end their season. You can remain active during the therapy period.
How to Benefit from Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy
ESWT is an effective treatment for many types of musculoskeletal injuries and pain. You can benefit from ESWT through your doctor or physical therapist. You can also purchase a device to use in the comfort of your own home.
Oceanus offers several devices for in-home use. Check out our selection and start healing today.