Shockwave therapy is a treatment for patients suffering from chronic shoulder pain who either no longer respond to conservative treatments or wish to avoid the side effects often associated with the long-term use of painkillers.

Shockwave therapy is a form of regenerative medicine that uses the body’s own healing mechanisms to reduce inflammation and pain in damaged tissues. 

To help you get a better understanding of this novel approach to pain management and healing, we asked our expert at Regenerative Pain & Spine, Dr.  Shoeb Mohiuddin, and his team in Chicago, Illinois, to explain how shockwave therapy works and who may be a good candidate for it. 

What to expect from a session of shockwave therapy

Shockwave therapy sends low-energy sounds to damaged tissues through a handheld device.

Based on the type of damage you’re suffering from, Dr. Mohiuddin determines the dosage of shockwaves and the treatment protocol. Next, he applies some ultrasound gel on your skin and glides the device on your shoulder. 

Understanding how it works 

Shockwaves penetrate the skin, reaching damaged tissues and causing a light injury that, in turn, signals to your body to increase blood flow and send growth factors to heal the area. 

Other effects of shockwave therapy include lowering chronic inflammation, dissolving calcium buildup in the joints, and interfering with faulty pain signals. 

Inflammation is part of the immune system response. It increases blood flow and it may even cause pain, but it’s all for the purpose of healing. However, when the threat can’t be eliminated, acute inflammation becomes chronic. 

Calcium buildup goes hand-in-hand with inflammation, as you’re more likely to have buildup if your joints are chronically inflamed. 

Calcium can also build up in your joints and arteries if you don’t have adequate amounts of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 sends calcium from the joints and arteries to places of the body where it’s better utilized, namely your bones and teeth. 

Lastly, shockwave therapy can interrupt the communication between the body’s main pain neurotransmitter, glutamate, and the brain. 

Recovery from shockwave therapy 

The treatment lasts about 15 to 30 minutes and doesn’t include any downtime, but you should avoid high-impact exercises for at least 48 hours after the treatment. 

The first thing you’ll notice is a numbing sensation in the treated area. However, the dulling of the pain is temporary. The final results of shockwave therapy, and a significant improvement in pain, are noticeable about 6-8 weeks after the treatment. 

If you’re interested in finding out whether you’re a good candidate for shockwave therapy, contact us to schedule an appointment

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