What is extracorporeal shockwave therapy?
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), also known as shockwave therapy, is a non-invasive approach used in the treatment of several musculoskeletal disorders and pain. This FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved therapy is particularly favoured by many physiotherapists in Singapore and across many countries. But where does this innovative technology originate from, and how does it actually work? Let us walk you through the benefits of shockwave therapy in Singapore and more!
The history of shockwave therapy
It all began over three decades ago when scientists started exploring the potential benefits of using shockwaves to treat kidney stones and gallstones. The success of breaking up the stones marked the advent of this innovative technology for non-invasive medical intervention. In the early stages, concerns about bone and tissue damage led scientists to more research and, ultimately, the discovery of its healing effect on injured tissues and fractures. There was another remarkable discovery that led to its growing popularity today – the alleviation of pain.
Today, shockwave therapy in Singapore has become the gold standard for regenerative medicine and shows a lot of promise in treating several conditions like osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy.
The physiology and mechanism of ESWT
What are shockwaves, and how can they help you relieve your pain? Shockwave therapy in Singapore uses transient low-energy pressure waves or pulses that are transmitted to the skin with the help of a transducer. This is carried out with a topical ultrasound gel that does not require any analgesics (painkillers). The transducer transmits energy to produce shockwaves, which are then spread and absorbed by the body. At River Physio, the decision to adjust the frequency and dosage is taken after discussing it with our patients.
ESWT works by activating the body’s natural healing process to promote tissue repair and relieve pain. This innate healing mechanism can trigger an inflammatory response resulting in swelling and tenderness. However, this response should not be a cause for concern – this is a positive reaction and needs no additional treatment or medication.
Shockwave therapy affects targeted cells and tissues in four phases:
- Physical phase: This phase focuses on creating a positive pressure to stimulate processes such as absorption, reflection, refraction, and transmission of energy to the tissues.
- Physicochemical phase: In this phase, the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is triggered to increase cell activity.
- Chemical phase: ESWT stimulates the mobilisation of calcium by changing the ion channels in cell membranes.
- Biological phase: Lastly, ESWT promotes healing by the modulation of angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels).
Are you concerned about how painful ESWT will be? This concern is understandable, but don’t worry. Most patients describe the sensation as mildly uncomfortable rather than painful.
The pros and cons of shockwave therapy in Singapore
Shockwave therapy in Singapore is usually used in conjunction with manual therapy and other physiotherapy exercises. If you are concerned about how to carry out these exercises at home, don’t worry. We at River Physio understand your emotions and have created the best home care physiotherapy in Singapore just for this purpose.
- Faster healing and recovery.
- Reversal of chronic inflammation.
- Reduction of peptide P (pain-reliever effect) and increased growth factors.
- Improved blood flow and angiogenesis.
- Metabolism stimulation.
Shockwave therapy in Singapore is extremely safe, but as with other therapies, there might be some associated risks or side effects. These risks are relatively rare and minor but the treatment must be performed by qualified therapists to avoid unpleasant consequences such as infection. Other minor side effects include swelling, bruising, and pains or aches. At River Physio, we are cautious of these side effects and our treatment is performed safely by the hands of our experienced physiotherapists in Singapore.
Who can benefit from shockwave therapy?
Over the last two decades or so, shockwave therapy has been mainly used to treat musculoskeletal disorders and stimulate bone growth. However, over the recent years, with the advancement of technology, its use has been extended to several other conditions.
Some of the conditions that can be treated by shockwave therapy in Singapore are:
- Achillodynia (pain syndrome of the Achilles tendon and its surrounding tissues)
- Trochanteric bursitis (inflammation that affects your hips)
- Shoulder injuries and pain
- Muscle sprains and injuries
- Heel spurs (bony-like growth on the heel bone)
- Jumper’s knee (overuse or injury to the knee tendon)
- Plantar fasciitis (causes pain on the bottom of your heel)
- Shin splints
Contraindications for shockwave therapy in Singapore
Despite several benefits, there are a few instances in which shockwave therapy in Singapore is contraindicated:
- In individuals under the age of 18, with the exception of Osgood-Schlatter disease.
- During pregnancy.
- In blood-clotting disorders such as APS (antiphospholipid syndrome).
- If you are on anticoagulant medication such as heparin or warfarin.
- If you have received a steroid injection (within six weeks).
- If you have a pacemaker.
- If there is an infection at the site of treatment.
- In severe untreated hypertension (high blood pressure).
- If you have an aortic aneurysm (balloon-like bulge in the aorta).
- If tumours are present at the site of treatment.
How long does it take to recover and see results?
Most patients require around three treatment sessions for optimal results, but some may need more sessions for complete recovery. At our clinic, we adjust the treatment according to your personal pain tolerance level. We usually perform each session at 1-week intervals with 2000 pulses per session. Anti-inflammatory medications are usually avoided to quicken the recovery process, but other than this, you are free to go on about your daily activities!
At River Physio, we have observed a lot of success with this therapy. Our patients have a high recovery rate, and the complication rate has been low or negligible. If you are suffering from any musculoskeletal disorder and pain, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team of highly experienced physiotherapists are here to make your recovery journey as comfortable as possible. We are among the best physiotherapy clinic in Singapore. Call us today!