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What is Shockwave Therapy and How Does It Work?

What is Shockwave Therapy and How Does It Work?

The idea of using shock as a form of healing is not new. People in ancient times, like the ancient Egyptians have been using something like this. However, it was in a very dangerous and peculiar format. The new technologies allow us to use shockwave therapy in a way that’s powerful and very comprehensive. Whether it’s with help from acoustic solutions or a fibroblast, we can’t deny its benefits.

Knowing what shockwave therapy is and also how it works has become very important. That’s because the way you know shockwave therapy works is by understanding it. You have to know the process, but also its overall benefits. And the great part is that shockwave therapy can indeed help. Whether it’s thrombolysis, homeostasis, etc, all of these are influenced positively by shockwave therapy.

What is Shockwave Therapy?

In general, the shockwave therapy system is designed to help you deal with injuries. It relies on using shockwaves as a way to treat pain. It can also be a great method to help you recover from a variety of issues. However, in the late 60s it was also used to break kidney stones in order to help patients. That’s what made it such an excellent option to keep in mind.

However, as decades passed since then, doctors realized the true potential of higher energy shockwaves. Knowing what does shockwave therapy do, they decided to up the ante. That’s why there were more powerful shockwave solutions. Those become crucial for soft tissue healing, while also improving issues like plantar fasciitis.

Types of Shockwaves Used in Therapy

What a lot of people think is that shockwave therapy uses the same type of shockwaves. And that’s not exactly the case. What you will notice is that there are multiple shockwave types. Any shockwave therapy machine you use will have different types of shockwaves. They might be similar from a sonographic standpoint, but they also have their own downsides and challenges.

Radial shockwaves

These shockwaves are designed for larger treatment areas. They are relying on compressed air in order to have a high speed acceleration. In addition, they also have a transmitter which gives better control over speed. These waves have a high energy density and intensity. However, as they get deeper, they are losing power. If you have more superficial tissue problems like plantar fasciitis or a tennis elbow, they will help.

Focused shockwaves

These hard shocks are meant to go deeper than a radial shockwave. If you have calcifications, bone issues, then focused shockwaves can work very well. It’s a great idea to try out focused shockwaves if you have deeper problems that you need to tackle.

Does Shockwave Therapy Work?

Generally, shockwave therapy is known to work extremely well. It delivers an amazing value for money, while also being easy to do. That being said, the shockwave therapy process can differ based on practitioner. But in general, it’s meant to be very efficient, comprehensive and designed with very little challenges or issues in mind.

The practitioner sets up the machine, and you will target a specific area. That area will be treated and you will feel better. It’s definitely not a one time treatment. You need continual assistance in order to see results. But it definitely works, and that’s what matters. We believe it’s an extraordinary option for many different types of pain.

Common Conditions Treated with Shockwave Therapy

Musculoskeletal Pain

One of the best things you can treat with shockwave therapy is definitely musculoskeletal pain. Generally, this type of pain is not going to be very deep within your tissue. It’s related to things like tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and other similar conditions. Since it’s musculoskeletal, that means you can use radial shockwaves. Most shockwave therapy machines can deliver that. However, in some cases, you will have to go deeper.

Chronic Tendonitis

Problems like a rotator cuff injury, patellar tendinitis and anything similar can benefit from shockwave therapy too. These treatments are extremely powerful, reliable and they make it easy to eliminate a lot of problems. It’s a great idea to tackle any tendonitis, and you can do that via shockwave therapy.

Non-healing Bone Fractures

As time goes by, your bones will not feel great and they are not regenerating either. Even if you can’t regenerate your bone fractures, you can use shockwave therapy to eliminate pain. There’s a reason why you rely on hemodynamics and osteogenesis support like this. It’s a great way to ease your pain, while also feeling better.

Erectile Dysfunction

You can also use shockwave therapy for treating ED. These waves are sent to the penile shaft. What happens is that you will have improvements from a neurogenic and vascular standpoint. Yes, it’s not the best solution, but it can help quite a bit.

Preparation for Shockwave Therapy

There are multiple things that you can do as you prepare for shockwave therapy. What’s great about this therapy is that it’s designed to be seamless and simple. There’s not a whole lot to do in order to prepare. But there are a few things that might help:

  • It’s a good idea to avoid any anti-inflammatory medication at least a day in advance. That doesn’t help the therapy, and it can lead to complications sometimes.
  • Don’t take any jewelry with you before you head to the shockwave therapy session. Obviously, you need to take the jewelry off, since shockwaves can lead to significant damage for those pieces.
  • Dress comfortably, because sometimes you will feel some nausea, maybe even soreness. Being comfortable is an ideal part of the process here.
  • Eating a light meal before your session will help provide you with the necessary energy.
  • Be prepared to let the practitioner know about the session and its effects. If there are any issues, inform them right away.
  • Also, you want to have someone that drives you home. The shockwave therapy session might not leave you fit to drive, so keep that in mind.

Shockwave Therapy Procedure and Techniques

In general, the same procedure is used for most shockwave therapy sessions. However, some will adjust and optimize it. But for the most part, a probe is added on the skin once gel is applied into your skin. The idea is for the probe to help deliver the shockwaves. And yes, the gel is there to help conduct those shockwaves to the target area, so keep that in mind.

Then most of the time, the shockwave therapy session will start with shockwaves at a lower intensity. Depending on what you want to treat and the issues, you can go to a higher intensity. But contrary to popular belief, that is not mandatory. You can stick to the low intensity levels most of the time. High energy waves are not for everyone. They can lead to pain if you’re not able to deal with them properly.

Equipment Used in Shockwave Therapy

There isn’t a ton of equipment being used for the shockwave therapy sessions. First, you have the shockwave therapy machine. These machines are very powerful and they are fully customizable. Some machines are great for radial shockwaves. Others deliver focused shockwaves, both of them can be a solid option.

Then you will have specialized gel that helps conduct all those shockwaves. Some machines have their own probe. Others will have specialized accessories that can be used accordingly. It will depend on the product and its features at hand.

Common Side Effects and Complications

What’s great about shockwave therapy is that there aren’t a lot of side effects. And those that appear are very minor. You might experience things like bruising, some pain, and local swelling. There are also chances of dealing with an altered sensation or numbness. It might also lead to skin reddening in some cases.

Who is a Good Candidate for Shockwave Therapy?

The shockwave therapy sessions are great for healthy people that need pain relief. It’s used often for athletes. But if you also have musculoskeletal problems or even some bone issues, then shockwave therapy can be ideal for you as well.


Using shockwave therapy is a great idea if you want to relieve pain. It’s one of the best non invasive therapy options on the market. The results you get from shockwave therapy are very impressive. And while you will need multiple sessions, no one can deny the true power of this therapy. It’s extremely dependable and efficient, and you will be happy with the way it all works. That’s why we highly recommend shockwave therapy to everyone that deals with pain!