Therapeutic shock waves were introduced into medicine as a treatment for eliminating kidney stones 20 years ago! Discovered as a side effect was the effect on bone healing (bone density increase) as well as accelerated tissue healing in the area.
There are basically two different methods:
- Focused shockwaves – Electromagnetically generated, high energy, deep penetration, and precisely focussed in small spot.
- Radial Shockwaves – Radial shockwaves are often referred as radial pressure waves. In physical terms this is the correct definition.
The radial pressure waves are pneumatically generated pulses (compressed air). The compressed air is used to drive a projectile in a cylinder inside the hand piece to a shock transmitter. The kinetic energy generating from the motion and weight of the projectile converts into acoustic energy when the projectile hits the shock transmitter. The acoustic pulses then transmit into the underlying tissue, treating a larger area than the focused shockwave. The highest energy of the pressure waves will be at the surface of the treatment point, gradually decreasing as the penetration depth increases. The penetration depths are normally 1-3cm.
Physical Effects of Radial Pressure Waves
Radial pressure waves offer a non- invasive treatment solution to long term insertion and soft tissue pathologies. Local treatment in the affected area will support and reset the healing pattern.
There are today several working hypothesis for the physical effects of radial pressure waves:
- Pain reduction
- Increased metabolism
- Reduced muscle tone
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendinopathy
- Gluteal tendinopathy
- Tennis and Golfers elbow
- Trochanteric bursitis
How to perform a radial pressure wave treatment:
- Radial Pressure Wave treatment, given in the right dose for the correct indications is an excellent treatment for many chronic conditions other treatment forms can’t improve or heal. Radial Pressure Wave therapy is very well received among therapists because of positive outcome results for a comparatively short treatment period.
- Radial Pressure Wave therapy is experienced differently from patient to patient. Some localised pain may be experienced during the treatment session. As the condition improves so does the comfort during the treatment.
- Depending on the indication, 3-5 sessions in total at 5-10 days intervals are the most common treatment frequency. An initial treatment success could be evaluated after 3-4 sessions but additional improvement could be noted for 3 months.
- The Chatanooga Intelect RRPW has a unique system for ramping up the intensity gradually during a treatment session. Instead of starting treatment on a low level, interrupting the treatment and readjusting the intensity, the “ramp” functionality allows you to have an automatic but smooth intensity increase. If you prefer to stop stimulation due to intensity, just turn off the trigger button. From here you could choose if you want to go on at the same intensity level, or continue ramping up to maximum pre-set level. This feature can make it more comfortable during the treatment session.
Radial Pressure Wave therapy is a modality which is successfully used by doctors, practitioners and physiotherapists in both sport medicine and rehabilitation.