Chronic pain ranks as one of the most prevalent reasons that people seek medical care, potentially affecting as many as 40% of US adults. In addition to the physical effects of this condition, chronic pain can impact your capability to live a normal life.
Finding a treatment that relieves, or even reduces, chronic pain can have a positive effect on your mental health and emotional well-being. When conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and medication, don’t deliver adequate results, it’s time to consider other options.
Innovative techniques in regenerative medicine use your body's natural mechanisms to repair damage caused by injury, disease, or aging. Shock wave therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that uses a rapid series of small shock waves to treat chronic pain. This noninvasive technique has proven successful in treating musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.
Identifying the cause of your chronic pain is the first step in determining whether shock wave therapy is right for you. Interventional pain management specialist Shoeb Mohiuddin, MD, and the team at Regenerative Pain & Spine in Chicago, Illinois, are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain. Based on the result of a physical exam and imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scans and X-rays, Dr. Mohiuddin determines whether shock wave therapy or another approach is the best treatment for your symptoms
How shock wave therapy works
The purpose of shock wave therapy is to trigger your body’s natural healing response by delivering a series of microtraumas to the targeted area. In response to these microtraumas, your body triggers a repair process that increases blood circulation to the treated area. The effect can help relieve pain, regenerate tissue, and reduce calcium deposits in tissues.
Shock wave therapy uses blasts of high-pressure energy to promote repair and healing in the deep tissues. Shock waves carry energy that can pass through tissues. The treatment uses a series of low energy acoustic wave pulsations applied through the surface of your skin.
The pulses are delivered for short periods, causing the formation of bubbles that grow and burst. The energy generated by these bubbles passes through tissue and triggers cells that help heal connective tissue and bone.
Conditions treated with shock wave therapy
Shock wave therapy is often recommended as an alternative to surgery or other invasive treatments when conservative therapy has not produced adequate results.
Depending on your physical condition, the cause of your pain, and your history of treatment, Dr. Mohiuddin may recommend shock wave therapy for treating symptoms such as neck pain, back pain, or shoulder pain.
Shock wave therapy may be appropriate when your pain is caused by one of these conditions:
- Shoulder tendinopathy
- Elbow tendinopathy
- Neck tendinopathy
- Tennis elbow
- Plantar fasciitis
What to expect from shock wave therapy treatment
Shock wave therapy is administered as an outpatient procedure in our office. Most patients don’t have to change their routine to prepare for treatment.
Before the procedure, a local anesthetic is applied to the treatment area to reduce pain. You will be positioned to stabilize the area. During your treatment, the handheld shock wave therapy device is positioned against the skin and guided to treat the source of your pain.
A session with shock wave therapy typically lasts about 30 minutes. While your treatment plan may vary depending on your needs and physical condition, a typical course of treatment with shock wave therapy is one treatment weekly for three weeks.
You can go home immediately after a shock wave treatment without having to worry about the effects of anesthesia, infection, or scarring. While a prolonged recovery period isn’t necessary, you may want to take a day or two off after treatment, depending on the area treated and the physical requirements of your normal routine.
While some patients report feeling an immediate effect from the treatment, others don’t experience benefits until a few weeks after their session. The results of shock wave therapy may be long-term, though periodic treatments may be necessary to maintain these benefits.
To find out more about shock wave therapy and whether this treatment may be appropriate for your back pain, call one of our offices in the West Ridge area of Chicago today.