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Shockwave Therapy
shockwave therapy machine

Utilizing Shockwave Therapy in Rehabilitation

We are excited to offer shockwave therapy at our Sherman Oaks office

Shockwave has been increasingly utilized in rehabilitation environments. Shockwave therapy has well-researched applications not only for conditions like wound healing, but is also useful for general orthopedic conditions including joint inflammation, sprains and strains. It can also help create angiogenesis and activate healing in the body.

There are two primary types of shockwave therapy, low intensity and high intensity. High intensity focused shockwave would be the type used in lithotripsy for kidney stones, for example. This type of energy wave can break up tissue and be very precise. Low intensity shockwave has a therapeutic effect and is the one we utilize in rehabilitation. Focused, low intensity shockwave is believed to create microtrauma to then stimulate healing. Unfocused shockwave does not cause microtrauma and is believed to stimulate healing through mechanotransduction.

There are three types of low intensity shockwave therapy: electrohydraulic, electromagnetic, and piezoelectric. Applicators can deliver focused or unfocused energy. The electrohydraulic technology comes in both focused (microtrauma) and unfocused. The unfocused electrohydraulic shockwave penetrates the deepest, and with the patented unfocused applicator created by Softwave Technologies, covers the most surface area in the least amount of time or shocks. Electromagnetic shockwave only has a focused version and has moderate penetration. Piezoelectric shock wave has the lowest energy with minimal to moderate penetration of tissues.

3 water spark wave tissue

The SoftWave patented unfocused applicator design makes it possible to spread energy to a large area of both superficial and deep tissue soliciting a biological response to the target area to initiate the body’s natural healing process.

The Softwave Technologies OrthoGold100 unit is designed in Germany. It delivers an unfocused shockwave by an electrohydraulic process. The body of the unit has an attached applicator through which the shocks are applied to the body.

Frequency of treatment is typically one time per week, up to two times a week for very acute conditions, and treatment is usually provided 3-7 days apart. Some patients benefit from as little as 1- 3 sessions, but more typically are seen for 6-9 sessions, with some patients returning for care once per month.

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT): Research supports that ESWT promotes healing by promoting an anti-inflammatory environment and by angiogenesis or the forming of new blood vessels. More details on the research and technology of the device we are using can be accessed at the company website.

How does Shockwave Therapy work?

An electrode inside a dome full of water sends short, frequent sparks of mechanical energy (shockwaves) which when contacting the skin penetrate and create soundwaves traveling through the affected tissue. The soundwaves travel faster than the speed of sound and result in an increased blood flow and decreased inflammation.

shock wave vs radial during treatment

Click here for more information on how the Softwave shockwave machine works.

What does it feel like?

Over an area without inflammation, it feels like a rubber band gently snapping on your skin. Over a "hot spot" or sensitive area patients report a deeper discomfort, often replicating the discomfort for which they are being treated.

How long does it take?/ How many sessions?

A treatment lasts 5–15 minutes depending on the number of shocks used. Some patients notice a dramatic improvement after 3 to 4 sessions, while more chronic issues may require 6 to 10 sessions of shockwave to note significant changes.

Is it covered by insurance?

Shockwave is currently not covered under insurance. Physicians have a CPT code in some cases for billing high intensity shockwave, but there is not a code for rehabilitation at this time.

Common pelvic health conditions treated:

  • Erectile Dysfunction Pelvic Pain
  • Penile Pain
  • Persistant Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)
  • Rectal Pain
  • Sacroiliac/SIJ Pain
  • Tailbone Pain
  • Testicular Pain
  • Vulvodynia/Vestibulodynia

Other conditions treated:

  • Arthritis/Joint Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Musculoskeletal Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Non-healing Wounds
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Scars
  • Sciatica Tendonitis

For more information on our use of shockwave therapy, call us or use our contact form here

Go here if you are ready to schedule an appointment with one our licensed physical therapists.

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** This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. **

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