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The ABC of shockwaves

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Shockwaves – facts and features

Shockwaves are audible high-energy sound waves. They occur in the atmosphere, for example during lightning strikes, or when aeroplanes break through the sound barrier.

In the medical world, shockwaves have been employed since around 1980 to disintegrate kidney stones, for instance. In modern pain therapy, shockwave energy is conducted from the place of its generation – the shock wave generator – to the painful body regions, where it unfolds its healing capacities.

How do shockwaves work?

Shockwaves accelerate the healing process by activating the body’s self-healing powers. They stimulate the metabolism and enhance the blood circulation. Damaged tissue gradually regenerates and eventually heals.

Which disorders can be treated?

  • Shoulder pain, e.g. shoulder calcifications
  • Tennis or golfer's elbow
  • Patellar tendonitis ("jumper's knee")
  • Shin pain / tibial stress syndrome
  • Achilles tendon pain
  • Heel pain
  • Chronic neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Muscle tension caused by painful muscular nodules (trigger points)
  • Knee osteoarthritis

If performed by qualified therapists, extracorporeal shockwave therapy has virtually no risks or side effects.

Questions & answers

How successful is the therapy?

After only 3 sessions, over 80 % of patients report painlessness or significant pain reduction.

How is the therapy performed?

The therapist localizes the pain region by palpation or shockwave localization and discusses the findings with you. A skin gel is then applied to the treatment area to allow the shockwaves to be introduced into the body almost painlessly and without any loss of energy. After these preparations, shockwaves are released as the shockwave applicator is moved over the pain region in a circular motion.

Duration and frequency of the therapy

The therapy session takes between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the disorder to be treated. In general, an average of 3 to 5 therapy sessions are necessary at weekly intervals. Shockwave therapy is offered on a private basis and is only provided by highly patient-oriented therapists.

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John Bradford DC MSc BSc (Hons)

Unit 6 Calendula Place
752-778 Christchurch Road
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