Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is an innovation in medical sciences which has become widespread as of recent years. In this method, shock waves of high amplitude are used which are generated from electromagnetic coil. Extracorporeal means that the shockwaves are generated outside of the body and are transmitted into the body through the skin. Extracorporeal shockwave therapy has extensive application in the field of cardiology, urology, orthopedics and physical therapy.
It is basically used to treat various conditions regarding muscle, joints, and tendons. Some disorders in which shock wave therapy is widely utilized is tennis elbow, chronic tendinitis, Achilles tendinitis, hamstring tendinitis and shoulder rotator cuff pain.
Tennis elbow is a medical condition in which the elbow and upper arm of the body experience extreme pain for apparently no reason at all. Medical science has yet to determine the cause of the pain but the treatment for tennis elbow ranges from physical therapy to shockwave therapy. Both seem to be quite effective to some degree. The pain can last from 6 months to 3 years, it can be inconsistent and it is observed that tennis elbow cures itself after some time. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy has especially been effective in reducing the pain significantly and patients prefer it to physical therapy due to its instant results.
Achilles tendon is the longest and toughest tendon in the human body. Any inflammation or injury at the junction of tendon and bone can lead to Achilles tendinitis. It is most common in athletes who require excessive use of their heels and foot such as soccer or running. It is caused by physical damage to the foot, stretching exercise and in some cases, it can also be caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs). Initially, it was treated with medications and rest plus specific physical therapy but now extracorporeal shock wave therapy has become a popular treatment for Achilles tendinitis. The effectiveness of ESWT varies according to statistics but it does help alleviate the pain.
Also known as hamstring tendinopathy, is a medical condition most often found in athletes and long-distance runners in which the tendons at the back of legs becomes injured or inflamed. It is often confused with sciatic pain. Hamstring tendinitis has been treated with medicines and physical therapy but studies have shown that extracorporeal shock wave therapy is more effective in treating this ailment than any other previously used treatments.
Shoulder rotator cuff
It is the inflammation and irritation of the tendon that connects to shoulder bone. The rotator cuff controls the wide range of motions performed by the arm. Shoulder rotator cuff inflammation mostly occurs in an athlete that play sports which require the excessive and powerful use of shoulders such as basketball. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is said to be a better treatment for shoulder rotator cuff as the high amplitude sound waves destroy the calcified deposits accumulated in the shoulder cuff which alleviates the pain and restores the shoulder to this original condition.