What is ultrasonic shock wave therapy?


Quick Answer

Ultrasonic shock-wave therapy is commonly used in physiotherapy, orthopaedics and sports medicine, BTL Industries notes. BTL Industries explains that shock-wave therapy was first used in 1980 to disintegrate kidney stones, before its use expanded to the treatment of sports-related injuries. According to BTL Industries, shock-wave therapy is effective for treating injuries because the shock-waves increase blood flow to the injured areas and help to speed-up the healing process.

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Full Answer

Shock-wave therapy works by sending a mechanically-pressured pulse into the human body, according to BTL Industries. This pulse passes through the body in the form of a wave. These shock-waves are acoustic-waves with extremely high-energy peaks. These types of shock-waves are similar to the waves that occur in the atmosphere due to lightning or a sonic boom. However, shock-wave therapy differs from ultrasound therapy, according to BTL Industries. BLT explains that ultrasound therapy uses a low-pressure amplitude with periodic oscillations; whereas, shock-wave therapy uses a single pulse.

Shock-wave therapy is used to treat a variety of medical conditions, including: kidney stones, renal and urethral calculi, epicondylitis, heel-spur, plantar fascitis, rotator cuff disorders, trigger points and chronic tendinopathies, according to BTL Industries. Bone and tendon injuries both respond positively to shock-wave therapy. Shock-wave therapy also stimulates the production of collagen around an injured area. Collagen is necessary to regenerate tissue and promote healing.

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