BBC Radio 4 feature on Shock Wave Therapy Treatment
Dr Mark Porter discussed the benefits of Shock wave Therapy treatment in taking care of chronic soft tissue injuries on the BBC Radio 4 programme Inside Health on 8th February.
Consultant Musculoskeletal Radiologist David Silver discussed the treatment.
The programme is available on the BBC iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b01blzl1. The piece on Shock Wave Therapy starts at 21 minutes and 30 seconds.
Pain free marathon training with Swiss Dolorclast SWT
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Reuters Health: Shock Wave Therapy Treatment shows promise for Tendon pain
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In this study, reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, Italian researchers tested the effectiveness of shockwave therapy against chronic cases of so-called proximal hamstring tendinopathy (PHT) in 40 professional athletes.
The injury affects the tendons connecting the hamstring muscles (at the back of the thigh) to the “sitting bones” of the pelvis. It typically causes pain at the top of the hamstring that radiates to the back of the knee, especially during physical activity or while sitting. In an MRI scan, the tendon is also visibly thickened.
As with other types of tendon injuries, PHT can often improve with conservative measures like rest, anti-inflammatory painkillers and physical therapy. Whether shockwave therapy is useful for stubborn cases of PHT has not been clear.
All of the athletes in the current study had had recurrent pain and tenderness from PHT for at least six months. Researchers led by Dr. Angelo Cacchio, of the University of Rome, randomly assigned the patients to either four sessions of shockwave therapy treatment, over four weeks or a standard regimen of conservative therapy — consisting of rest, pain medication, physical therapy and strengthening and stretching exercises.
Three months after starting treatment, patients receiving shockwaves reported a greater improvement in pain symptoms, on average, than those on conservative therapy. Seventeen of 20 shockwave-therapy patients reported at least a 50-percent reduction in pain, versus only two of 20 in the comparison group.
Athletes in the shockwave group also reported fewer limits on their activity than their counterparts on conservative therapy.
The findings, Cacchio told Reuters Health in an e-mail, indicate that low-energy shockwave therapy can be safe and effective for chronic PHT. However, he said, larger studies are still needed to confirm these initial results.
The study included only pro athletes — soccer and rugby players, distance runners and track and field athletes — but chronic PHT can affect the recreational athlete as well.
Whether shockwave therapy might be appropriate for the weekend warrior would depend on a number of factors — if, that is, the therapy is even available to him or her.
Cacchio pointed out that, in general, shockwave therapy is used as a last resort to avoid surgery, after rest, pain medication and physical therapy fail. Some people — including those who have medical conditions or are taking medications that increase their odds of internal bleeding — should not have shockwave therapy. And the therapy’s safety for children, pregnant women and people with nerve damage from conditions such as diabetes is not yet established, Cacchio said.
In this study, there were no serious complications. But Cacchio noted that “misdirected” treatment can actually damage tissue; receiving the therapy from an experienced doctor is important.
We have found shock wave therapy treatment to be 70-80% successful for the treatment of a wide range of patients; some of whom have had painful conditions for a number of years.