Pros and Cons of Shockwave Therapy
Almost every decision in life has pros and cons—or at the very least, benefits and risks. Should I watch one more episode or go to bed? Should I eat that last piece of cake?
Well, the same goes for medical treatments and procedures, including shockwave therapy.
That’s not to say that it isn’t one of the most amazing, safe, and highly effective treatments we have available of course—because it absolutely is! For most people, the pros are going to heavily outweigh the cons.
That being said, every person we treat is a unique individual with their own situation and their own goals. So while shockwave therapy might be the best treatment option for you, it might not be as ideal for someone else.
So, how do you know if shockwave therapy is right for you? Let’s provide a brief overview of what it is, first, then break down some of the main pros and cons of the procedure.
What is shockwave therapy?
If you want the full story, you can read our library page on this topic. However, we’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version below.
Basically, shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment therapy that uses pulses of energy, or “shockwaves,” to trigger a healing response in soft tissues that have been damaged and are experiencing chronic pain.
The waves are generated by a small machine, travel through a cable and an applicator wand and into your injured tissues. These shockwaves facilitate increased metabolism, boosted collagen production, release of signaling chemicals, and other natural biological processes that fight your inflammation and accelerate tissue regeneration.
Because of this, shockwave therapy is generally considered an advanced conservative therapy for many forms of chronic inflammatory pain, which may be an effective alternative to surgery for many patients.
Pros of Shockwave Therapy
It is non-invasive.
Shockwave therapy does not require any incisions. The pulses are delivered through skin contact. In fact, that’s why the procedure is often more fully known as extracorporeal shockwave therapy—extracorporeal means “outside the body.”
This alone makes it a very compelling alternative to a surgical procedure.
It is (mostly) drug-free.
During the shockwave procedure itself, we may use a local anesthetic to dull the sensations of the vibrations. Very few patients experience any pain during the procedure, and the intensity can be adjusted if you’re uncomfortable.
Beyond that, though, no medications or drugs of any kinds are used in the procedure. There are no steroid injections, no prescriptions, nothing. The healing processes that shockwave therapy stimulates are completely natural functions that your body can handle all on its own. The shockwaves are necessary only to “kick start” the process.