by Dr. Michael Baranov, PT, September 6, 2016
Shock wave therapy clinics have been around in Brooklyn for more than two decades. It was originally designed to treat urolithiasis (kidney stones) during a treatment called lithotripsy. New advances in science and technology have allowed physical therapists at MBF Rehab to provide a similar kind of treatment called EPAT (more below). This sound or shockwave therapy is an affordable, non-invasive, acoustic wave treatment to a variety of muscle and tendon problems.
What is Shock Wave Therapy?
ESWT or Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy delivers true high-frequency (they cannot be heard) shockwaves to the painful and/or dysfunctional tendon or muscle tissue. EPAT or Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology is slightly different and is a pulsed mechanical wave that is delivered to the tissue.
Both are non-invasive, meaning that the skin is not cut with a scalpel, there aren’t any needles, or injections. Therefore, there’s no risk of outside infection entering the body or treatment area.
Moreover, because ESWT/EPAT doesn’t cause a significant amount of pain, there’s no need for anesthesia or sedation…another huge safety and health benefit.
The only side effect that’s possible, which is experienced by less than 3% of those studied, is mild bruising.
How Does It Work? (click here to watch a video about EPAT)
Shockwave therapy is approved by the FDA. During shockwave therapy treatment, sound waves travel through the skin to the damaged tissues where they will increase circulation and metabolism. In other words, the treatment is designed to help injured or chronically inflamed tissue heal over time. The treatment is delivered through a metal wand that is connected to the wave generator. It is provided by one of our licensed therapists that is specifically trained to perform this treatment.
Diagnoses that Shockwave Therapy Might Help
There are a variety of conditions that often respond well the EPAT:
• Calcific Tendonitis of the Rotator Cuff
• Golfers Elbow (medial epicondylalgia)
• Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylalgia)
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Heel Spurs
• Patellar Tendonitis
• Trigger Points
• Several other diagnoses
Clinical Research Supporting the Use of ESWT
A number of clinical studies have been published and have demonstrated the effectiveness of ESWT. Here’s an excerpt of a clinical abstract and the accompanied reference:
One year after treatment, the results were considered satisfactory with an almost complete resolution of symptoms. There were statistically significant results at the 12-month follow-ups regarding the mean NRS score (from 6.25 to 0.2), the Constant Murley Score (from 66.7 to 79.4), the Oxford Elbow Score (from 28 to 46), and the AOFAS (from 71 to 86).
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy may be considered a safe, economic, and effective treatment for several chronic musculoskeletal disorders, allowing satisfactory pain relief and improvement of function ability.
Frequently Asked Questions about ESWT:
What Should I Expect with Treatment?
The beneficial effects of ESWT/EPAT are often experienced after only 4 treatments. Some patients report immediate pain relief after the treatment, although it can take up to four weeks for pain relief to begin. The procedure eliminates pain and restores full mobility, thus improving your quality of life.
What if I Have a Special Health Condition?
The safety and effectiveness of the ESWT/EPAT procedure has not been determined on people with the following health conditions. Your doctor will provide you with information about how these and other conditions might affect the determination to perform the ESWT procedures.
2. DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
What Is the Duration of the Treatment and How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Treatment sessions take approximately 5-10 minutes depending on the disorder to be treated. Generally, 4 treatment sessions are necessary at weekly intervals.
Shock Wave Therapy is Part of a Complete Physical Therapy Program
While ESWT/EPAT can stimulate a healing process, all of our patients go through a thorough initial evaluation so we can develop a personalized treatment program. In addition to shockwave treatment, patients are often provided with eccentric tendon training and advice on how to correct any unusual or detrimental biomechanical movements.
For example, if excessive pronation of the foot is thought to cause plantar fasciitis, patients will not only receive EPAT but also recommendations on how to correct abnormal foot mechanics to prevent the problem from returning.
How to Schedule an Initial Evaluation
Shockwave therapy is an exciting medical technology that is now available to almost anyone in need. Before you try aggressive, invasive treatments that come with sometimes serious side effects, contact us and schedule an initial evaluation. Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology might be a good choice for you.
You can contact us at (718) 975-3515