Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy
What is ESWT?
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (EST or ESWT) is a non-invasive procedure using an acoustic shockwave which carries high energy to painful spots and myoskeletal tissue with subacute, subchronic, and chronic conditions. The energy promotes regeneration and reparative processes of the bones, tendons, and other soft tissues.
ESWT initially reduces pain through what is known as 'hyperstimulation anaesthesia'. The nerves sending pain signals to the brain are stimulated to such an extent that their activity diminishes, thereby decreasing or eliminating pain.
ESWT alters the release of the pain mediator and growth factor Substance P. Substance P is responsible for causing slight discomfort during and after shock wave treatment. Over time the shockwaves lead to the depletion of Substance P from free nerve endings. Less Substance P in the tissue results in reduced pain. Less substance P also causes so-called neurogenic inflammation to decline.
Most importantly it has been demonstrated as a safe treatment option. FDA approved and gold standard for many indications.
Results: obviously the body is a complex structure and like many things in medicine we can provide no guarantees of effectiveness of treatment. We can only keep up to date with latest quality scientific research and make this available to you to make your decision.
If you have any questions, please feel free to discuss these with your ESWT therapist.
What to expect
A shockwave is an intense but very short energy wave travelling faster than the speed of sound.
The word extracorporeal means "outside the body" and refers to the fact that the shockwaves are generated outside the body.
ESWT is an outpatient procedure. A hand piece is placed on the skin after gel is applied to help conduct shockwaves. High or low energy waves may be used.
Each treatment session is approximately 10 to 15 minutes. First initial consultation is 30 minutes. There is slight discomfort, but you will be able to walk around. Work as normal after your treatment.
Limit physical activity for 24 hours to let the area treated settle. Many patients experience an improvement in symptoms almost immediately while others take 2-3 weeks to respond. There may be reddening or slight bruising in the treatment area.
Therapy is more successful with active patient participation where the patient tells the therapist whether or not the handpiece is at the area of the pain.
Three or more treatment sessions may be needed.