Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT)

WHAT IS EXTRACORPOREAL SHOCK WAVE THERAPY

A projectile in the handpiece is accelerated at high speed by means of precisely controlled bursts of compressed air. When the projectile strikes the applicator inside the handpiece, its kinetic energy is converted into a mechanical energy force.

This energy is transmitted along the applicator without creating any noticeable movement. The shock wave energy is then emitted at the tip of the applicator and applied to the patient’s affected tissue. To minimize transmission losses – which would occur in the air between applicator and skin interface – contact gel is used to guide the shock wave.

HOW IT WORKS ON THE MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM

At the musculoskeletal system the speed of sound particularly changes at the border between soft tissue and bone, as well as at the surface of calcifications within the soft tissue (such as within tendons).

MOLECULAR & CELLULAR MECHANISMS OF ACTION

  • Reduction in sensation of chronic pain (mediated by non-myelinated C nerve fibers), immediate pain relief by depletion of substance P
  • Blockade of neurogenic inflammation (playing an important role in the pathogenesis of insertion tendinopathies such as tennis elbow, plantar fasciopathy, etc.)
  • Activation of mesenchymal stem cells (such as osteoblasts), thereby induction of healing
  • Release of growth factors
  • Improved blood circulation in the treated tissue