Shock Wave Therapy FAQ’s

These are the most frequently asked questions about shock wave therapy treatment.  If you have others, please do get in touch.


How do I fund SWT treatment?

Insured patients:  Many of the major medical insurance companies in the UK have approved SWT and will cover this treatment for some indications, but patients are encouraged to check with their insurer before commencing treatment.  We can supply patients with the appropriate codes for the procedure on request to assist with these enquiries.

Self-funding patients:  For those who are not insured but who want to have SWT treatment, we offer a comprehensive and very competitive self-pay package of treatment.  Please contact us for further details.

Are there any contraindications to having SWT that I should be aware of?


SWT should not be used in patients who have:

  • a cardiac pacemaker
  • a Bleeding tendency or clotting disturbances including blood-thinning medication
  • an acute infection in the treatment area
  • Cancer

It should also not be used in patients who are or may be pregnant.

Is there anything else that I should be aware of before I start treatment?


Anti-inflammatory medication should not be taken within 10 days of starting treatment, during treatment and for 12 weeks after  treatment.

Steroid injections should not have been given within 12 weeks of the start of treatment.

How many treatments are necessary?

Most patients initially have three treatments.  These are given at 1-2 week intervals.

How long does each treatment last?

After setting up and marking the area to be treated, it takes 15 minutes to administer 2500 shockwaves per treatment.  This does not include the initial assessment performed before treatment.

Is the treatment painful?

The treatment can cause a little discomfort, but a vast majority of people tolerate this very well, particularly because the first 500 or so impulses have an immediate pain-relieving effect.  Some patients feel a little bit of discomfort for a  day after treatment, but this is not seen in most of those treated.  It is extremely rare for patients to need painkillers after the treatment.

Will I be in pain after the treatment?

Usually less pain is felt after treatment than was felt before, but sometimes a dull ache can occur for a few hours.  It is more common for the dull ache to start at about day 3-4 after the first treatment and not at all after the second and third treatments.

What should I do if I am in pain after the treatment?

In the unlikely event that this should occur, take simple pain killers such as paracetamol.  Do not use anti-inflammatory medication as this will interfere with the healing effect of the body that is stimulated by SWT.  A vast majority of patients do not need any pain killers.

What should I do after the shockwave treatment?

Even if you have no pain we recommend that you refrain from intensive activities for 48 hours after each treatment.  You should continue your usual stretching/eccentric physiotherapy exercises.

What if the shockwave treatment doesn’t seem to be working?

Even though a majority of people (70-80%) respond to shockwave treatment within a few weeks (and sometimes earlier than this), it may take several months before the maximum effect is achieved.

Some people (approximately 20%)  do not respond to this treatment, although a proportion of these will subsequently respond to a further course of treatment.  If, after 3-4 months, a pronounced improvement is not felt, you should discuss this with us further so that we can formulate a plan of management.  Remember that we are Sports injury and Tendon Specialists and so we have other treatment options available.  We will do everything we can to cure you.