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Shockwave Therapy For Shoulder Pain: How Does It Work?

Shoulder pain is a frustratingly common ailment.  Whether it’s a nagging ache, a sharp twinge stopping you from reaching for a book or a deep throb disrupting your sleep, shoulder pain disrupts lives. 

Traditional treatment options like rest, pain medication, and physical therapy offer relief. However,  some conditions remain stubbornly resistant. So, if you’re searching for an alternative solution, shockwave therapy may be the answer.

Learn all about shockwave therapy and how it can bring lasting relief from shoulder pain.

What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy, or extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), is a non-invasive treatment that uses high-energy sound waves to promote healing within damaged tissues. 

These shockwaves penetrate the skin and soft tissues, reaching the targeted area of pain or dysfunction. The energy from the shockwaves stimulates the body’s natural healing response, promoting tissue regeneration, reducing pain, and improving blood flow to the affected area. 

This process can help accelerate healing and alleviate symptoms associated with various musculoskeletal conditions.

How does shockwave therapy help patients with shoulder pain?

Shockwave therapy helps shoulder pain in several key ways:

  1. Pain reduction

Shockwaves can disrupt the transmission of pain signals to the brain, providing immediate and longer-lasting pain relief. Additionally, they address the underlying causes of pain by stimulating healing.

  1. Tissue regeneration

The energy delivered by shockwaves increases blood flow and cellular activity in the damaged tissues within your shoulder. 

This promotes the growth of new blood vessels, supports healthy tissue formation, and speeds up the overall healing process.

  1. Breakdown of scar tissue and calcifications

Shockwaves help break down stubborn scar tissue and calcific deposits, which is particularly beneficial in conditions like calcific tendonitis. These substances often contribute to pain and restricted movement, so their removal can significantly improve shoulder function.

  1. Improved range of motion

Shockwave therapy makes it easier to move your shoulder by reducing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. This can then help the patient achieve the following:

  • Increase their mobility
  • Restore regular shoulder function
  • Reduce their risk of further complications
  1. Stimulates self-healing

Shockwave therapy essentially kickstarts your body’s natural healing ability.  This can make a crucial difference in chronic shoulder conditions that are resistant to traditional treatments.

What are the conditions that can be treated with shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy shows particular promise in treating these common shoulder conditions:

  • Rotator cuff tendinopathy: Damage and inflammation of the tendons in your rotator cuff muscles.
  • Shoulder bursitis: Inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) cushioning your shoulder joint.
  • Calcific tendonitis: A buildup of calcium deposits within the rotator cuff tendons, causing pain and restricted movement.
  • Frozen shoulder: A condition characterized by severe stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint.

Besides shoulder conditions, shockwave therapy can also provide relief from other conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy, and more.

What does the treatment process involve?

Understanding the treatment process of shockwave therapy helps you know what to expect and feel prepared. Here’s a breakdown of what’s involved:

Initial consultation

Your occupational therapist will thoroughly evaluate your shoulder pain, medical history, previous treatments, and current medications.

Furthermore, they will examine your shoulder to assess your range of motion, tenderness, and possible causes of your pain.

Your therapist will determine if shockwave therapy is right for you. They’ll discuss potential benefits, risks, and any contraindications specific to your situation.

Treatment preparation and procedure

  • Gel application: A conductive gel is applied to your shoulder to improve transmission of the shockwaves.
  • Device placement: Your therapist will use a handheld device to deliver shockwaves directly to the affected area.
  • Intensity and dosage: The intensity of the shockwaves and the number of pulses delivered are adjusted based on your condition, tolerance level, and treatment protocol.
  • Duration: A typical shockwave therapy session takes approximately 10-20 minutes.

After the treatment

After the procedure, you may experience temporary soreness, redness, or minor bruising at the treatment site. This usually subsides within a few days. Your therapist may also give specific instructions on managing your shoulder pain and recommended activities.

The number of sessions required depends on the severity of your condition and individual response. Generally, a treatment course consists of 3-6 sessions spaced about a week apart.

You may have a follow-up appointment to assess your progress and determine if further treatment is needed.

Are there any side effects to shockwave therapy?

While shockwave therapy is generally considered a safe and well-tolerated treatment, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects. Here’s what you might experience:

  • Temporary redness: The treated area may develop some redness around the skin. This usually fades within hours or days.
  • Minor bruising: Occasionally, slight bruising can occur at the treatment site. This should be resolved within a few days.
  • Mild discomfort: You might feel some soreness or tenderness in the treated area for a short period after the session.
  • Increased sensitivity: Some people report temporary increased sensitivity around the treatment site.

Serious side effects from shockwave therapy are rare. However, it’s always best to consult with your Miami occupational therapist to discuss potential risks based on your health circumstances.

Conquer Shoulder Pain & Beyond with Hands-on Therapy Services

Are you battling stubborn shoulder pain that’s keeping you from the activities you love? If traditional treatments have left you frustrated, it’s time to discover the power of shockwave therapy and the expert care at Hands-on Therapy Services.

We choose shockwave therapy from other treatment modalities due to its non-invasive nature and its ability to effectively relieve pain. (Learn about the advantages of shockwave therapy against ultrasound and TENS.)

Our expert occupational and hand therapist in Miami are extensively trained in shockwave therapy, ensuring safe and effective treatments tailored to your shoulder condition. While we excel in providing this treatment option, we also specialize in other procedures, such as:

Don’t let pain hold you back any longer. Schedule your consultation with the best shockwave therapy near me to experience personalized care that can transform your life. 

Contact us today.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.

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