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Frequently asked questions

1. What is Shock Wave Therapy?


A non-invasive treatment solution using high-peak sound waves (acoustic pulses) that interact with the tissues of the body to provide fast pain relief and restore mobility and function.  This therapy is ideal to accelerate the recovery process of a wide variety of sub-acute and chronic soft-tissue musculoskeletal conditions.



2. What does this therapy do?


Shockwaves transfer mechanical energy, non-invasively, to painful areas and injured tissue to trigger the body’s self-healing process.  The energy increases the local blood circulation and activates the regeneration process of the bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and connective tissues.



3. What is involved with the treatment?


The hand piece and tip are applied directly to the skin at the pain point and the surrounding areas. The treatment will last 5-10 minutes, depending on how many impulses are needed. The number of treatments depends on the indication and the tissue response. The effect of the treatment is cumulative, so typically 4-6 treatments are recommended. Very often, immediate pain relief is experienced after the first treatment.



4. What are the benefits and effects?


This therapy accelerates the body’s natural healing process by activating the connective tissue, stimulating the formation of new blood vessels, and increasing blood flow, cellular metabolic activity and neurovascular performance. It relaxes muscles, removes of myofascial adhesions which are often the source of trigger point pain, dissolves calcified deposits in soft tissue, and reduces pain through the release of Substance P, a neurotransmitter and pain mediator.


5. Is it similar to ultrasound?


Acoustic waves and Ultrasound are both sound waves. However, the wave forms and frequencies are different.  Ultrasound has a periodic oscillating wave with a narrow bandwidth and low frequency range of 0.75–3 MHz. An shockwave  is characterized by rapid rise in higher with a mostly positive wave followed by a short tensile wave (negative tension). Ultrasound also has a thermal effect (heat); whereas, shock wave therapy does not.


6. How does it differ from laser?


Laser therapy is a treatment using intense beams of light. A acoustic wave or pulse is a pressure wave that transfers mechanical energy into the tissue.



7. What can it treat?


Sub-acute and chronic painful soft tissue lesions of the musculoskeletal system such as trigger points in muscles, as well as painful shoulder, back, heel, knee or elbow areas.



8. Where should it not be used?


Treatment should not be applied in the following cases: Patients who are pregnant, have tumor diseases or carcinoma, or who have had cortisone injections within 6 weeks prior to the first treatment.  Caution should be exercised with patients who bruise easily and/or have coagulation disorders (hemophilia), use anticoagulants, especially Marcumar, Thrombosis, heart pacemakers, or children in growth (growth plates).



9. What are its side effects?


There are rare minimal side effects which include some swelling, reddening, hematomas, petechiae, localized increased pain, skin lesions in cases of previous cortisone therapy. Side effects generally abate after 24-48 hours. Ensure that they have disappeared before starting the next therapy session.



10. When will you see results?


Most patients will feel better right after their treatment including reduction in pain and increased mobility. This will generally last 5-8 days and the discomfort will slightly return before the time for the next treatment. Patients will slowly become free of discomfort. Then, over the next two to three weeks, actual may healing will take place.



11. How long does the treatment last?


Generally, 1500-3000 impulses are administered per treatment area, which lasts approximately 5-10 minutes.



12. What is the treatment protocol?


The precise treatment protocol depends on the diagnosis of each individual patient. Treatment varies in the number of impulses administered and the intensity of those impulses. Most conditions are treated a total of 4 to 6 sessions spaced at weekly intervals. Occasionally, additional treatments will be required in more severe injuries. The treatments are easily performed on an outpatient basis and without anesthesia.








13. Which transmitter tip do I use for which areas?


The C15 CERAMAX (gray tip) is used for tendons, ligaments, bone, joints, and very painful, tense, small defined areas close to bone.


The D20T (Gold) & D35S (large stainless steel tip) D-ACTOR are used for trigger point therapy of muscles and connective tissue areas.



15. Does it work for every case?


Client feedback reports a success rate of above 75%. However, there is no treatment that is 100% successful in every case.



16. Who is the ideal patient?


This therapy is an affordable solution for many indications, especially for a chronic injury or condition that is slow to recover or hasn’t responded well to conventional treatments, such as tendon, ligament, bone and soft-tissue injuries. In many cases, acoustic wave therapy is an alternative to surgery.

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Dr. Santiago Osorio