The medical field has never stopped experiencing advancement through several groundbreaking discovery and research by experts in the fields. For the past few decades, since the discovery of the usefulness of shockwave therapy in medicine, different clinical conditions have become more easily treated, and there has been less of a need for surgery and inflammatory drugs. The clinical research for shockwave therapy has yielded overwhelmingly positive results.
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Simply put, shockwave therapy (Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, or ESWT) is a non-surgical treatment that involves the use of a special device to create a series of low-energy acoustic waves used to treat painful disorders and other medical conditions.
The Emergence of Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy is a treatment procedure that has been around for quite a while. The first systematic investigation of the use of shockwaves in medicine was in the 1950s. This came about after the observation that, during World War II, bombs detonated underwater would crack the lungs of castaways floating nearby through the concussive force channeled through the water.
The observation led into a series of further investigations for about three decades, and in the early 1980s, the clinical use of shockwave therapy was finally introduced for the treatment of urologic conditions. In 1985, it was first used in the treatment of a gall bladder stone in German. Ever since then, ESWT has been used for the treatment of many other conditions as medical scientists keep intensifying efforts to improve on the technique. The first set of shockwave devices were large, unwieldy, and usually caused the patients pain.
However, modern devices are now more compact, quieter, and are almost completely painless. Apart from the modernized devices, the number of conditions treatable by shockwave therapy has also increased. With each trial and study done, its efficacy through clinical research becomes more established.
What Are the Health Conditions Treatable By Shockwave Therapy?
Since its first use in medicine in the 80s, ESWT has been tested and used to treat various conditions. Science Direct, in one of its publications, highlighted the following as some of the conditions ESWT is currently being used for as well as its efficacy for each of them.
Refractory Angina is a chronic condition that manifests as a pain signal originating from the heart to the brain and is usually triggered by myocardial ischemia. It is an advanced coronary artery disease that typically defies many conventional medical treatments and forces patients to lead severely restricted lives and perform limited activities.
While protocols vary depending on each patient’s case, ESWT is typically administered over nine sessions when treating refractory angina. It is done 3 sessions per week and completed after 3 months. In both randomized and nonrandomized studies of its efficacy, shockwave therapy was associated with an improvement in the quality of life of patients and considered to be more effective than other treatment options.
Erectile dysfunction is one of the most popular uses for ESWT. As reported by Science Direct, shockwave therapy was found to have helped 76% (22 of 29) of men who used it achieve an improved International Index of Erectile Function-Erectile Function (IIEF-EF) domain score of at least 5 points with an increase from a baseline of 8.8 to 18.8. It is very effective for those who have difficulties having or maintaining an erection as well as those without erectile issues but want an improved sex life.
It is estimated that each year, about 230,000 people injure their Achilles tendon in the U.S. To treat this, shockwave therapy for Achilles tendinopathy is performed three to four times at weekly intervals. When compared with other options such as the wait-and-see approach and calf muscle exercise program, it was reported that ESWT is a more effective intervention.
Stress fractures or stress reactions of the lower leg and foot are very common among people who perform weight-bearing activities. It is characterized by soreness, tenderness, or pain in the shin bone and swelling in the leg.
While a low-risk stress fracture may heal on its own by merely refraining from strenuous activities, some cases do require treatment. Among the many options available, shockwave therapy provides the best results.
Tendinopathy is one of the most prevalent and most frequently self-reported musculoskeletal diseases in the U.S. It is a medical condition which causes pain and swelling in the tendon. ESWT was recently developed as a treatment option for tendinopathy and has since passed through different trials with a favorable outcome for patients who have used it.
The Future of Shockwave Therapy
ESWT has yet to be approved by the FDA due to the fact that there is still a need for more studies to adequately establish its optimal treatment parameter on how it actually helps in accelerating the healing process. However, in light of its efficacy in different health conditions, ESWT has so far become one of the most favored treatment options.
It’s non-invasive, painless, and almost no record of side effects, which has made it extremely preferable for patients who have used it before. It even works well for animals. Currently, the procedure is being used to treat different tendon problems on horses by veterinarian physicians, and the preliminary results showed that it could significantly improve lameness.
As clinical research advances, there are more medical conditions that may become treatable using ESWT both in the urology and other medical fields. ESWT has become more popular in different continents around the world and there is a belief in the health sector that it may be officially approved very soon in some Asian countries.
When Should I Consider Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy procedure is performed by an expert clinician following a set of established protocols. The protocols vary depending on the clinical condition and the patient’s case. You need a thorough diagnosis by a professional to be sure about the condition first and ascertain that it is treatable with shockwave therapy.
How Shockwave Therapy MD Can Help
At Shockwave Therapy MD, we are committed to helping people improve their health and productivity using shockwave therapy to treat different body aches and pains. We are a group of highly trained and dedicated professionals who have helped many people recover from chronic pain and even enhance their sex life. If you are suffering from any of the above cases or are experiencing the listed symptoms, then you can book a date with us today by filling this free consultation form.