Radial Shockwave Treatment – What you should know
Radial Shockwave Therapy in Edmonton and St. Albert is becoming one of the most commonly advertised treatments for pain. At Leading Edge Physiotherapy, we understand that patients are bombarded daily with convincing, medically-worded advertising about the latest, greatest cures for their pain. Research on the internet further complicates matters as patients try to sort out fact from bias. Here are some facts about Radial Shockwave Therapy as we know it.
So How Long Has It Been Used?
RSWT (Radial ShockWave Therapy) has been around since the mid 1980s in Europe, but it was not common here until the last decade likely due to the exorbitant costs of the technology. Shockwaves were developed in a medical environment originally to treat kidney stones. At Leading Edge Physiotherapy we invested in our state-of-the-art Swiss Dolorclast technology in 2008 because we knew the benefits to our clients outweighed our cost. One of our certified therapists has been using the technology for over eight years. This technology continues to be some of the most advanced in the industry.
To some, I am sure that the term shock conjures thoughts of putting your finger in a socket. In the case of radial shockwave, it is not an electrical shock that is generated. In fact, a shockwave is a physically generated sound wave that occurs when an object reaches the speed of sound. These shockwaves can occur in nature such as when a jet plane flies overhead or after lightning strikes. We utilize technology with a compressor and applicator to generate the shockwave, high energy percussion, and transmit the sound wave using water soluble gel into scarred and/or calcified soft tissue.
Unfortunately, our tissues do not remain young and healthy forever.
RSWT is a well-researched, effective treatment for conditions that are chronic (>3 months) and have been otherwise resistant to common therapies. These include: Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis and thickening, Epicondylitis (tennis and golfer’s elbow), Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee) and Calcific tendonitis of the Rotator Cuff in the shoulder. It is also very effective for hallux limitus associated with painful bunions, though it will not cure the structural defect of bunions. In keeping with the research and providing evidence based use of this treatment, we have utilized this treatment for chronic low back pain, sacroiliac pain and osteoarthritis in the knees. We have seen the benefits correlating to the research findings in this area as well.
When conservative treatments have failed and surgery seems like your only option, RSWT may help you. In our modest clinics alone, we have managed to help many people avoid surgery and its invasive risks and possible complications.
How many treatments does it take?
Most conditions require three to five treatments, spaced out once per week. Many people begin to feel some relief during that period, however healing occurs over the next 12 weeks and the best results are felt after this period of time. Occasionally, stubborn conditions require a fourth or fifth session to achieve optimal results.
I heard that the treatment is expensive
As is the case with all technology, costs come down over time. We are committed to using this technology to care for as many patients as we can and only on those who would benefit from its healing properties. This is the reason that we offer the initial three RSWT visits for $465. In 2008 the cost of these treatments was $875. Follow up treatments are sometimes necessary and are provided on a cost per treatment basis. Compared to traditional treatments which can carry on for months, radial shockwave is utilized 3 to 6 times and therefor the total cost can be quite similar.
Many people self-diagnose, research possible treatments online, and make care decisions based on biased or incomplete information. The most important part of any treatment plan is that it is based on an accurate assessment and diagnosis: the right treatment, for the right condition, at the right time. Might I add, that it should also be provided by the right professional. At Leading Edge all of our treatments are provided by registered physical therapists who are able to accurately diagnose your injury prior to the treatment.
Radial Shockwave Therapy may be the answer for your chronic pain…but it might not be.