How Shockwave Therapy Benefits Chronic Pain Management

Chronic pain from soft tissue injuries and other musculoskeletal problems can make life difficult, particularly for athletes. Sports medicine practitioners, such as physiotherapists, are starting to incorporate Shockwave Therapy to complement traditional manual therapy. This helps to promote soft tissue regeneration and the body's natural reparative processes.


what is shockwave therapy

In This Article

Shockwave Therapy can be used to treat a wide range of chronic pain conditions as well as sports injuries, from Achilles tendonitis and knee and hip bursitis to herniated disks. The therapy uses high-energy sound waves that target areas where chronic pain persists. This non-surgical treatment is used at our sports physiotherapy clinic in Singapore to accelerate healing and acute and chronic pain management.

What makes chronic pain different from acute injuries?

Microtraumas and debilitating joint problems can lead to chronic sports injuries and pain. Athletes are more prone to musculoskeletal injuries, which often occur where two joints meet. These injuries are most common in lower limbs like quadriceps, knee flexors and calf muscles. 

Although there isn’t consensus about when a muscle injury should considered chronic, injuries that are not treated within three weeks of an acute injury are usually considered chronic. Time between injury and treatment may not be as important as the histologic progression of trauma and healing, which can complicate treatment process.

Overuse sports injuries

Running has many benefits for wellness and health. It is an easy, accessible sport that can almost be done anywhere. This makes it possible to fit running into your busy schedule. But running does have a drawback: People who run a lot tend to get hurt. Research estimates that more than half of runners are injured each year. Some injuries are from falls or a sudden event, but most often people get hurt from ongoing microtrauma.

Overuse sports injuries can be difficult to treat because they develop slowly and gradually over time. Most people ignore the niggling issue at the beginning. By the time the pain becomes severe enough to seek physiotherapy treatment, the injury may have already become a complex issue.

Although muscles can regenerate and return to normal function even after chronic sports injuries, it is common for an injury to continue and cause impairments to muscle function. If left untreated – or worse, misdiagnosed – a chronic condition like an Achilles tendon tear can lead to a more severe Grade 3 rupture.

Early onset symptoms may be mild, so athletes who are taught to push through the pain rarely seek immediate treatment. But ignoring the mild symptoms or self-treatment can actually prolong recovery, not to mention turning into a more serious future injury. A majority of people turn to our internet frenemy Google for health-related information. However, the potential of self-misdiagnosis and incorrect home remedy treatments can lead to future complications. 

Injuries occur when repeated microtrauma cumulates beyond the tissue’s ability to heal itself. Many times, injuries are caused by biomechanical and physiological factors. This is where a knowledgeable physiotherapist in sports medicine can help identify the root cause and correct it to avoid, or reverse, any negative effects.

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How Can Shockwave Therapy Reverse Tissue Damage?

Muscle injuries are often treated with physiotherapy, medication and rest. If the treatment plan is followed, an injury can have a great outcome. Unfortunately, athletes often disregard treatment recommendations and resume normal activities well before the muscle fibers are ready to handle the load.

Intense overuse can lead to continued degeneration of muscle fibers attributing to chronic conditions. Scar tissues and fibrosis can be difficult to treat with traditional physiotherapy techniques.

One of the most promising new therapy options that has been introduced to physio clinics is Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, or ESWT. The technology increases the repair of musculoskeletal tissues by generating acoustic sound wave impulses that stimulate soft tissue injury healing. Although the technology is not new, its use in treating painful joints and muscles is relatively recent in physiotherapy in Singapore.

Shockwave therapy benefits chronic tendon inflammations as well as calcific tendinopathy in the shoulder, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy. The root cause of all these conditions is impaired healing, damage to the fascia and tendon fibers rather than general inflammation itself.

Shockwave Therapy Benefits to Heal and Break Down Scar Tissue

When a wound heals, scar tissue forms. Scar tissue pain may take years to develop after an initial injury, or from a surgery like total knee replacement.

Scar tissue pain is caused by nerve damage from the original injury. Because scar tissue is not elastic like normal tissues it restricts mobility and causes pain. If the damage affects nerves or tendons, patients may experience long-term pain and numbness in the affected area. Fibrosis is a condition where the body produces excessive scar tissue. It  can cause adhesions, which can lead to chronic pain, inflammation, and loss in function of the tissue or joints.

What is Shockwave Therapy and how does it work exactly? Shockwave treatment causes scar tissue to be broken down and vasodilation around the treatment areas. This stimulates an inflammatory response and promotes blood circulation concurrently. The energy from a shock wave has the intensity to disintegrate unhealthy formations of mucoid substances from repeated microtrauma or inflammation. 

Normally, you will feel less pain after treatment. However, a slight increase in pain may be experienced within the first few hours following a session as a side effect of shockwave therapy. This can last for up to a day. It is recommended that you avoid any activity that puts stress on the area 48 hours after treatment. The body will naturally heal the inflammation over the next few days. 

The use of Shockwave Therapy in Singapore can be helpful for chronic and acute pain management. Patients with chronic pain can see significant improvements when combined with manual therapy techniques. The non-surgical approach can promote healing and help restore muscle function to a pre-injury state. Cells repair and regenerate.

HelloPhysio is known for offering innovative treatments for orthopedic injuries of all sorts, specifically with physiotherapy when it comes to runners and chronic pain management. As athletes ourselves, our like-minded clinicians understand that the last thing our patients want to hear is that they need to stop running or working out. We are at the fore of incorporating effective new treatments modalities such as Shockwave Therapy in physiotherapy to help patients feel better, faster, and without pain.

Explore our website to find out more about treatment options for even the most complex musculoskeletal conditions.

The information and content provided here is solely for educational purposes and should not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider. If you have any health-related questions or concerns, it’s important to consult directly with our team or your healthcare provider.

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