Is Shockwave Therapy Painful?
Are you nervous about your first shockwave treatment because you’re worried it will hurt? That’s normal. The first question that most patients ask us at Midlands Shockwave & Physiotherapy Clinic is: “Is shockwave therapy painful?”. So, let us put your mind at ease. Read on to find out whether you will feel any pain during or after your shockwave treatment.
Is shockwave therapy painful?
It’s normal to experience some pain or discomfort during your shockwave treatment. This is because the therapy stimulates blood flow in the injured body tissue – so pain is just a sign that the injured area is responding. Most patients feel an intense but manageable throbbing in the affected area.
Let us explain in a little more detail…
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive and non-surgical treatment. It works by sending low-energy sound waves through the skin to the injured body tissue, increasing blood flow and speeding up your body’s natural healing process. These are administered directly to your skin via a small hand-held probe attached to a shockwave machine. Just to clarify: these are not electric shockwaves – you will not feel pain from the shockwaves themselves.
In order for the therapy to be effective, a response is needed from the injured area. This can cause some pain or discomfort as the blood flow increases around the injured body tissue.
For most patients, this feels like quick throbs against their skin as the sound waves are administered. As the treatment only takes about 5–10 minutes, most patients are able to cope with this discomfort.
However, if you are finding the treatment very painful – perhaps because your injury is already causing you significant pain – just let your physiotherapist know. They can adjust the intensity to manage your pain, without affecting the outcome of the treatment.
Will I feel pain after my shockwave treatment?
Many patients do not feel pain after their shockwave treatment, and are able to go back to their usual activities straight away. We just advise that you don’t do any strenuous activity for 48 hours, as this could trigger pain in the injured area. If you find that you do experience discomfort following treatment, you can manage this with painkillers, such as paracetamol.
Some people do experience side effects from shockwave treatment, including bruising, swelling, numbness and redness of the injured area, but these should go within a week.
Your physiotherapist will talk you through any potential side effects or risks of shockwave therapy during your initial assessment.
Is shockwave therapy safe?
Yes. Shockwave therapy has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, tennis and golfer’s elbow, trochanteric bursitis, patella tendinopathy, calcification tendonitis of the
shoulder, and shin splints. Of course, like all treatments, there are certain patients who will not be eligible for shockwave therapy – for example, if you have a blood clotting disorder or are pregnant. But you will have a consultation with your physiotherapist before any shockwave treatment is admitted to ensure that the therapy is safe and appropriate for you.
So, in a nutshell, is shockwave therapy painful? It can be slightly uncomfortable or painful, but most patients find it manageable. Your physiotherapist is there to help you manage your pain – so, if you experience discomfort, they will adjust the intensity of the treatment for you.
Ready for your first shockwave treatment?
If you’d like to try shockwave therapy to treat your injury, book your first session with Midlands Shockwave & Physiotherapy Clinic in Sutton Coldfield today. The 45-minute session costs £75, and includes a full objective assessment and a shockwave treatment. Call the clinic on 0121 308 7774 (0121 405 0199 out of hours) or use our online contact form to arrange your appointment.