Shockwave Therapy can help with Chronic Tendon Pain
Shockwave Therapy is not a Victorian form of torture but a fast-track and highly effective treatment for many stubborn, chronic and painful tendon problems such as Achilles Tendinopathy (caused by overusing your Achilles’ tendon for example when running or walking), Plantar Fasciitis, Tennis Elbow and Gluteal tendinopathy (around the hip).
Over the last few years there has been a growing body of scientific evidence supporting this treatment. It has now been endorsed by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) who advise the government on treatments that should receive funding (you may well find this treatment is now covered by your medical insurance.)
Shockwave Therapy uses rapid electromagnetic pulses to create precise, low amplitude shockwaves directly to tendon tissue. The major benefit of this approach is that it is a far less painful method than many other forms of shockwave production and delivery, for example compressed air. The treatment has proven to be most successful when applied alongside a graded strengthening programme of exercises for the tendon.
Our team at Physio on the River always strive to deliver the most up-to-date and evidence-based treatments to our clients. There are very few risk factors involved. And while the treatment can be quite noisy at times and can feel a little uncomfortable, it is only applied in short bursts. We adjust the application according to your tolerance levels so it is rarely painful while remaining effective.
This type of treatment is now recommended by the majority of Consultant Orthopaedic surgeons when tendon problems become chronic (i.e. a condition that lasts longer than three months).
What is shockwave therapy?
There are many different types of machines that use varying physical mechanisms to produce shockwaves. The machine manipulates these shockwaves to deliver the appropriate dosage to bodily tissues to achieve a therapeutic response. The most recent mode of doing this is electromagnetic pulse shockwaves. Here at Physio on the River, we are excited that we can offer this type of shockwave therapy. It uses rapid electromagnetic pulses to create precise, low amplitude shockwaves directly to tissues. The major benefit of this is that it is far less painful than many other forms of shockwave production and delivery, for example compressed air.
Can it do you harm?
As well as having a large body of academic evidence for the positive outcomes of this type of therapy*, it has the added benefit of having very few risk factors or contra-indications. The National Institute of Clinical Effectiveness (NICE) guidelines have been produced for the use of shockwave therapy for many common musculoskeletal conditions including: plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinopathy and gluteal (hip) tendon problems. As you may have read in the press NICE are a hard nut to crack and endorsement from this organisation carries weight. At initial assessment, if shockwave is for some reason not the best clinical option for you, the physiotherapist will discuss alternative options either at Physio on the River or referring you to a different healthcare provider, as appropriate.
What does the treatment involve?
The package of care for shockwave therapy will involve an initial Physiotherapy assessment followed by an initial package of four treatments but more can be added as required. The number of treatments required on average varies between 4 and 10, depending on the area to be treated and the reaction to treatment. The machine has a small hand-held device through which the shockwaves are given. The treatment is quite noisy and can sometimes feel uncomfortable but is only given in short bursts of time. We only treat to a person’s tolerance. As previously mentioned shockwave is rarely given in isolation as a programme of strengthening is almost always required. Degeneration of the tendon requires it to be strengthened again or the problem will simply return.
How much does it cost?
Sessions of Shockwave are typically charged at £150 to £200 per session throughout the clinics in London that provide it. We are offering outstanding value – a block of four Shockwave treatments (typically 4-10 sessions are required) for only £300 – meaning a potential saving of up to £500. And, during February 2022 we are offering to our self-paying customers, an additional 10% discount. Some health insurance companies, including Bupa, are now offering cover for this treatment so if you hold a policy it is worth checking with your company first.
If you are a self-paying customer and would like to book an appointment and claim your 10% discount, call us on 020 8876 5690. You can also book online, contact us by email or pop into the clinic in person – we’d love to have a chat.
*Legat 2014; Loska 2017; Moya et al 2015