What is Shockwave Therapy?
How Does it Work?
Chronic pain is costly and affects work performance and quality of life. The prolonged use of painkillers has numerous unpleasant side effects and has significant withdrawal symptoms, including, ironically, pain if you ever try to stop them.
TRUE shockwave therapy, like our Softwave Therapy device, on the other hand, is a non-invasive procedure that has gained popularity due to its potential in pain management and reducing inflammation. The technology is the best alternative to chronic pain management because it has no side effects and offers a long-term solution. The procedure is done for a short duration in our clinic and is safer than continuous exposure to painkillers and antiinflammatories that, with long-term use, have been associated with more pain, not to mention liver and kidney issues.
Not all Shockwaves are created equal
There are three TRUE shockwave devices (electrohydraulic, electromagnetic, and piezoelectric) and one device, called radial shockwave, EPAT or r-ESWT, that is not a true shockwave device. The radial device is like a jackhammer, is extremely painful, and has poorer outcomes for many conditions than other true shockwave devices. At New You Health and Wellness our electrohydraulic TRUE shockwave device, Softwave, is the most powerful, penetrating the deepest and interestingly, the most comfortable shockwave device on the market. It is also the ONLY shockwave device on the market that is able to reach a the depth of 4 to 6 inches AND cover a large area in the shortest period of time. This broadly focused applicator makes the treatment more comfortable for the patient and accelerates the healing with less shocks and less energy necessary. Therefore it’s a unique patented applicator that treats a larger area in a shorter period of time, and patients love the fact that it is much more comfortable and more effective than other shockwave devices. For a typical case of joint or muscle pain you can expect relief on the 1st treatment and 50-100% relief after the 3rd treatment.
Softwave therapy involves using shockwaves generated by an electrohydraulic applicator to treat different inflammatory conditions. The energy from an electrohydraulic shockwave device waves has much greater pressure and energy than other true shockwave devices. The high-pressure soft waves are applied to all kinds of tissues and target specific areas of the body that need treatment. Consequently, research demonstrates the energy stimulates the cells and tissues in the affected area, relieves pain, and reduces inflammation by attracting stem cells, M2 macrophages (our body’s own anti-inflammatory molecules), and other molecules that support pain and inflammation modulation. .
Non-invasive Softwave therapy relieves both short-term and long-term pain caused by different conditions
- joint pain (including arthritis)
- muscle pain
and stimulates tissue healing and potential regeneration of tissue as well.
But how does it work?
Stimulation of nerve cells that perceive and signal pain
The shock waves exert energy and pressure on the affected area, interrupting how your nerves perceive and signal pain to your brain. The nerve endings act like sensors and send messages to the brain, letting it know to pay attention to the area being treated. As a result, when the waves stimulate the nerves, messages are sent to the brain through the spinal cord, creating an almost immediate analgesic effect, reducing the pain experienced. The treatment also stimulates the release of endorphins (natural feel good chemicals) that reduce pain, thus reducing pain perception.
A study done at the University of Health Sciences in Europe to determined the effect of shock wave therapy on patients with low back pain revealed that patients exposed to Softwave therapy reported that they experienced significantly less pain and had an improved quality of life.
It disrupts pain memory.
When you get hurt, you experience pain as a normal reaction to injury to help your body recover and heal. However, if the pain signals persist and become chronic, the memory of pain and the signaling pathways in your brain become reinforced repeatedly. This changes how your body responds to pain. In the case of chronic pain, the affected tissue will constantly signal the nervous system and make your body more sensitive to even the slightest stimulation.
Softwave therapy disrupts the particular pain memory and resets the nervous system and how it responds to pain signals. As a result, continuous treatment helps to alleviate chronic pain.
A study conducted on 40 males with chronic pelvic pain that lasted three or more months without any detectable urinary tract infection revealed that pain significantly reduced compared to the group that did not undergo Softwave therapy. It is an effective and safe treatment for many types of chronic pain. Other studies show its effectiveness in treating plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and shoulder, knee, back and neck pain and more. Truly any joint or muscle has the potential to be treated effectively with Softwave.
Selective alteration of specific nerves fibers that transmit pain signals
Another theory of how Softwave therapy works is that it selectively alters the sensory neurons that transmit pain signals. Your body has several nerve fibers which send pain signals to the brain. Applying Softwaves causes rapid alterations to sensory nerve fibers within the treated areas. Thus, they cannot transmit pain signals to the brain, which reduces the perception of pain in the short run and, for many relieves chronic pain for the long term. Furthermore, exposure to shock waves also influences the free nerve endings to stop transmitting pain signals to the brain. It reduces the pain sensitivity and can cause long-lasting pain relief.
A study revealed that exposure to the shock wave technology in the thigh of rabbits induced long-term pain relief. The treatment induced selective loss of nerve fibers that become abundant with chronic pain and transmit pain signals. After six weeks, there was a substantial change in the nerve fibers within the treated hind limb, leading to long-term pain relief.
A different study of 20 healthy patients treated with Softwave therapy on the forearm revealed that the technology inhibited the activation of more nerve fibers in the affected area. The increased number of nerve fibers had been contributing to increased pain. Alternation of the nerve fibers after Softwave therapy reduced pain perception and provided long-term pain relief.
Alters pain transmission
The treatment stimulates the production of the body’s natural pain-relieving substance known as endorphins, for example, substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptides. Endorphins relieve pain by reducing pain sensitivity and inhibiting the transmission of pain signals. Thus, the pain stimulation gradually ends, relieving you of chronic pain.
A study conducted on sixty males who had chronic pain for three months or more. The study participants were divided into two groups. Both groups received treatment four times, once a week, with the second group receiving a placebo. The results revealed that Softwave therapy patients experienced significantly less pain, unlike those who received the placebo, without any side effects.
Alleviation of pain caused by inflammation
When an injury occurs like a tear or a shearing of tissue, your body’s immune cells release protective factors to begin healing. For example, they release a macrophage phenotype M1 when the body is attacked by bacteria or viruses and phenotype M2 when inflammation is caused by injury. M1 macrophages are usually present in abundance when there is proinflammatory molecules in an area, and M2 macrophages are in an area when it is beginning to move into the antiinflammatory phase of the healing response. Research shows that after Softwave therapy, M2 macrophages are increased, and M1 are decreased, supporting the anti-inflammatory effects of the treatment. Stem cells also travel to the area to help with reducing inflammation and possibly regeneration. Softwave therapy reduces tissue inflammation, regulates the immune system response, and promotes healing.
One study to determine the effect of the treatment after a lack of blood flow to an area starving it of oxygen from the decreased blood supply revealed that Softwave therapy resulted in increased numbers of protective factors (M2 macrophages) and improved blood flow to the limb leading to healing of the affected tissue.
Treating underlying causes of chronic pain.
Softwave therapy is an effective way to relieve pain and treat the underlying causes of chronic pain. When you’ve been in pain for a long time, your brain memorizes and develops reflexes that remember and react every time it receives the pain signals. The pain memory causes involuntary pain sensation and muscle contraction even to the slightest stimulation and causes more pain. As discussed above, Softwave can help alter the pain memory and give long-term relief to chronic pain and other nervous system disorders.
Let’s look at some of the pain conditions it can treat:
Acute pain: Pain from a recent injury or surgery is the perfect time to pursue Softwave therapy. The mechanisms discussed above are faster with newer injuries. Any strain, sprain, scar, and any tissue that needs healing is a great option for Softwave therapy.
Chronic muscle pain: conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatism, and fibrositis often become resistant to painkillers and can subject patients to pain and suffering. Shockwave therapy offers a long-lasting treatment solution with no side effects. Maintenance therapy plus functional medicine approaches are sometimes beneficial to keep the pain at bay.
Chronic musculoskeletal disorders: Shockwave therapy has a high success rate (65-91%) in treating conditions affecting muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons related to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis or tendonitis, with no complications. It relieves pain, could promote tissue regeneration, and improves the function of the injured tissue.
Repair of damaged nerve endings: nerve damage leads to long-term health issues and disability. Low-intensity Shockwave therapy, like our Softwave therapy, has been shown to promote nerve regeneration and healing.
Softwave therapy effectively treats conditions caused by inflammation in muscles, joints, and nerves. With Softwave treatment, there is an immediate increase in blood flow around the affected area, which helps tissues to heal by drawing more nutrients and oxygen. Another way that it reduces inflammation is by changing how your nerves and immune system respond. It blocks the signals from the immune system that would cause pro-inflammation and promotes signals that reduce inflammation. A reduction in inflammation helps your body to heal faster.
Softwave therapy, a true electrohydraulic low-intensity therapeutic shockwave device, is a highly effective way to relieve acute and chronic pain for any muscle or joint. The best part is that it is a noninvasive treatment with a very good success rate. Several studies have proved its effectiveness and confirmed that it is safe and has no side effects compared to conventional pain medications and injections that often contribute to worsening the condition in the long term.
Call us at 414 299 8121 for a free 15 minute phone consult or book your full appointment to finally get rid of your chronic pain without surgery, medications, or injections.