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Shockwave Therapy
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shockwave therapy machine

Utilizing Shockwave Therapy in Rehabilitation

We are excited to offer shockwave therapy at our Sherman Oaks and Beverly Hills offices

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.

What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

Read more: Testimonial by P.M.

Testimonial by Jamie M.

I have been going to see Heather for a while now, and I can't tell you enough how much she has improved my quality of life. Heather specializes in issues like pelvic floor, but I see her for other orthopedic issues.

I have a lot of chronic joint pain and dysfunction issues (back, hips, neck) that require that have ongoing physical therapy maintenance. The effects of my problem joints/areas overlap and interconnect with each other in complex ways, so helping me requires really having a complete understanding of the entire skeletal and muscular system. Pain does not always appear where the problem actually is, the human body is a twisty, many-layered puzzle. I have an exercise program I do at home and I am very functional, but there are just something things I need a PT to help me out with.

Read more: Testimonial by Jamie M.

Testimonial by Rosanna R., age 35

Heather has affected my life in the MOST POSITIVE way and I am forever grateful. My husband refers to her as the "sex doctor" so you can only imagine how happy he is with my therapy outcome.

After the birth of my son I suffered from "Vaginismus", however, at the time I just thought I was broken. My "broken vagina" affected me physically but it was an emotional struggle as well. Many women in my life also suffered with pain from sex after their babies were born so I knew I wasn't alone. They told me they "just got used to it" but I couldn't see myself living that way.

Sex wasn't just painful, it was literally impossible - IT DIDNT FIT!

Read more: Testimonial by Rosanna R.,...

Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

I can’t speak highly enough of the theapists at Femina Physical Therapy and how much they have helped me grow, discover, and love my body. I had had painful sex for my entire life, and didn’t know that there was anything that could be done about it. It was at the point where my husband and I were not having sex for MONTHs, because it was just too frustrating, and I hated feeling like I was the ONLY woman out there who had this problem, especially at my age. I finally brought it up to my doctor because I was turning 40 and my husband and I were barely having enough sex to conceive. And she brought up pelvic floor, PT. I didn’t even know this was a “thing”.

Read more: Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

Testimonial by A.W., age 32

I wanted to let you know that my pelvic floor held strong and gave me no trouble whatsoever in my trail race this morning (12 miles)! In a way, I felt like I ran better than ever because my core feels so rock solid from all the exercises you have me doing. That was especially valuable on the technical downhill - I just flew down the trail because I had confidence in my balance and form. Thank you for helping me get back to doing what I love.

-- A.W., age 32
(completed Post-partum Renewal Program using the InTone biofeedback/stim unit)

Testimonial by R.S.

I wanted to thank you so much for helping me get through something I thought I may never be able to. We have achieved pain-free intercourse and this has really solidified our marriage. We are so grateful to you for all the work you do! Thank you!!

-- R.S.

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