What to Expect from Your First Shockwave Therapy Session


What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses shockwaves to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. During the session, the therapist will apply a handheld device to the affected area, which emits high-energy acoustic waves. These waves help stimulate the body’s natural healing process, improve blood flow, and reduce pain. Shockwave therapy is commonly used to treat injuries such as tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and muscle strains. The therapy is usually done on an outpatient basis, and many patients experience improvement after just a few sessions.

How does shockwave therapy work?

Shockwave therapy involves the use of acoustic waves to stimulate the body’s natural self-healing processes. During the session, a specialized device sends these waves to the affected area, promoting increased blood flow, tissue regeneration, and pain relief. The focused energy helps to break down scar tissue and stimulates the production of new blood vessels. This process can aid in the reduction of inflammation and the promotion of healing in soft tissues.

Conditions treated with shockwave therapy

Shockwave therapy is commonly used to treat various conditions, including:
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Shoulder tendinopathy
  • Calcific tendinitis of the shoulder
  • Patellar tendinopathy
These conditions are often characterized by chronic pain and discomfort, and shockwave therapy has been found to be effective in providing relief for many individuals.

Benefits of shockwave therapy

Shockwave therapy can provide several benefits for various conditions. Some of the benefits include:
  • Reduction of pain and inflammation
  • Improvement in blood circulation
  • Stimulation of tissue regeneration
  • Increased mobility and flexibility in the treated area
These benefits make shockwave therapy a popular choice for addressing issues like tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and muscle injuries. These positive effects can often be experienced after just a few sessions, making shockwave therapy a promising option for many patients.

Finding a shockwave therapy provider

When searching for a shockwave therapy provider, it’s important to find a qualified and experienced professional. Consider the following factors:
  • Look for a provider who has specific experience in administering shockwave therapy for your particular condition.
  • Research the provider’s credentials, such as their certifications and training in shockwave therapy.
  • Check for patient reviews or testimonials to gauge the provider’s reputation and the effectiveness of their treatments.
  • Finding the right shockwave therapy provider can contribute to a positive experience and successful treatment outcomes.

Preparing for your first session

First, make sure to wear comfortable clothing and bring any necessary paperwork or medical records with you to the appointment. It’s also a good idea to avoid eating a heavy meal right before the session. Your therapist will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have. Be prepared to discuss your medical history and any current medications. The therapist will then use a wand-like device to deliver shockwaves to the targeted area, which may cause mild discomfort but shouldn’t be painful. After the session, you may feel some soreness, but this is usually temporary.

The shockwave therapy session process

Expect your first shockwave therapy session to last about 30 to 60 minutes. The therapist will apply a special gel to the targeted area and then use a handheld device to deliver shockwaves to the area. The shockwaves may cause mild discomfort or a tingling sensation, but the therapist will adjust the intensity to ensure your comfort. After the session, you may feel some immediate relief, but it’s common to experience soreness for a day or two. Multiple sessions are typically required for the best results, so it’s important to follow your therapist’s recommendations for the frequency and number of sessions.

What to expect during the session

During your first shockwave therapy session, you can expect the following: The therapist will explain the procedure and answer any questions you have. You will undergo a physical examination to determine the best treatment approach for your condition. The therapist will apply gel to the treatment area and use a handheld device to deliver shockwave therapy. The treatment may cause mild discomfort, but it is generally well-tolerated by most people. The entire session typically lasts between 30 to 60 minutes. Remember, everyone’s experience may differ, but these are the common expectations for a shockwave therapy session.

Aftercare and recovery

After your shockwave therapy session, it’s essential to follow post-treatment care instructions to promote healing and recovery. Here’s what to expect and how to take care of yourself:
  1. Immediate Aftercare:
    You may experience mild discomfort or soreness at the treatment site, which is normal. You can use over-the-counter pain medication as directed by your healthcare provider to manage any discomfort.
  2. Activity Restrictions:
    Your healthcare provider may advise you to avoid strenuous activities or exercises involving the treated area for a specific period following the session. It’s crucial to adhere to these guidelines to allow proper healing.
  3. Hydration and Rest:
    Adequate hydration and rest are essential for your body to heal effectively after the therapy session. Drink plenty of water and get enough sleep to support the recovery process.
  4. Follow-up Appointments:
    Your healthcare provider will schedule follow-up appointments to assess your progress and determine if additional sessions are necessary. It’s important to attend these appointments as recommended.
By following these aftercare guidelines, you can maximize the benefits of your shockwave therapy session and support your body’s recovery process.

Summary and next steps

After your first shockwave therapy session, you may experience some mild discomfort or soreness, but this is normal. It is important to follow any aftercare instructions provided by your therapist, such as resting the treated area and avoiding strenuous activities for a period of time. You may also be advised to schedule follow-up sessions to continue the treatment and monitor your progress. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your therapist for further guidance.

Croft Castrell is the owner of Castrell Neuromuscular Therapy. He has been in private practice since 2015.

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