Shockwave Therapy in Denver

Shockwave therapy is more than making waves in the worlds of wellness, fitness, sports medicine, physical rehabilitation, and accident recovery. Commonly used by chiropractors, physical therapists, and wellness practitioners to treat musculoskeletal conditions, shockwave therapy is helping countless patients to enjoy faster, more complete healing. The real headline about shockwave therapy is that it is helping countless people to avoid things like expensive, risky surgeries that require extensive healing and recovery. This is need-to-know information if you’re dealing with pain, injury, or dysfunction somewhere in your body.

While some care providers are quick to suggest surgery, the reality is that many patients actually get better outcomes using shockwave therapy combined with other therapeutic measures like manual adjustments, trigger-point therapy, therapeutic massage, and stretching. For patients who are wary of relying on prescription pain medications to mask the pain that isn’t being addressed at the underlying, cellular level by care providers, a holistic option like shockwave therapy can be especially attractive. Unfortunately, the prescription pad has become the all-to-common default “fix” for bone, muscle, tendon, joint and musculoskeletal pain or injuries in many corners of the medical community.

In addition to failing to solve the underlying cause of pain, the discomfort of dysfunction within the body, a prescription-only approach to managing pain can actually create serious harm. When we mask pain without addressing why it’s happening, we run the risk of continuously reinjuring a part of the body because we are continuing with the same movements and patterns that created the injury in the first place. What’s more, we can overuse an injured area to the point of no return in terms of degeneration when we don’t take time to create adjustments that support and relieve the impacted area. This brings us to shockwave therapy.

You’re not alone if you’re just hearing about shockwave therapy for the first time at the suggestion of a friend or wellness blogger. While this treatment has been in use since the 1990s, its popularity has exploded in recent years due to a combination of word of mouth, scientific studies, and increased training among care providers.

What exactly is shockwave therapy? As the name suggests, this therapy uses actual shockwaves delivered in short, high-energy pulses! The benefit of the treatment is that it allows each shockwave the be targeted to the specific tissue in need of healing and restoration. During treatment, each 5-100MPa pulse lasts for a duration of approximately 10 milliseconds. Next, take a closer look at what’s actually happening when a patient shows up for shockwave therapy to treat a musculoskeletal issue!

How Shockwave Therapy Works

First, the mechanical pressure applied during a shockwave treatment actually primes the tissue for better permeability of the cell membrane. That pressure helps to boost cellular circulation and metabolism to speed up healing. It also helps to build something called a cavitation bubble within the cells. When these bubbles eventually collapse, they break down deposits in the specific tissue that needs healing. There’s still more! Shockwave therapy is also known to stimulate osteoblasts that actually help to heal and build up bones.

Yes, Shockwave Therapy Helps With Pain

A lot can be said about the long-term benefits of using shockwave therapy to heal injuries. However, the pain-relieving benefits of this treatment cannot be overlooked for patients who are struggling to get through the day with painful, chronic pain stemming from damaged tissue. Shockwave therapy is actually a type of “mechanical anesthetic.”

When the shock pulse hits a patient’s skin, the local nerve endings are also “shocked.” In fact, the pulses create so much stimulation at the nerve endings that the nerves actually become overwhelmed enough to block pain receptors. This short-term pain relief is very welcomed by patients who have been struggling with pain. Unfortunately, the short-term benefits do wear off. However, there’s another built-in benefit to shockwave therapy that involves a recalibration of pain signals within the nerves. The result is long-term pain reductions that are occurring in conjunction with actual healing. This allows patients to enjoy the “surface” improvement of pain reduction while also getting long-term, permanent healing resulting from the fact that tissue is being rejuvenated.

“Shockwave therapy significantly reduced the pain that accompanies tendinopathies and improves functionality and quality of life,” according to a 2018 study on the effectiveness of the treatment. Researchers involved in the study went as far as to suggest that shockwave therapy might be the first choice due to its effectiveness and safety. In the study, participants who underwent shockwave treatment reported that pain reduction, improvement in functionality, and quality of life all increased by at least two points on a five-point scale.

What Type of Device Is Used for Shockwave Therapy?

There are actually several different technologies for shockwave treatment. Practices are increasingly converting to the Swiss-made Dolorclast® machine because of its hallmarks of precision and quality. While this is quickly becoming the preferred machine, it’s still relatively difficult to find a practice offering patients access to the Dolorclast® here in Colorado. In fact, Denver Chiropractic is the only clinic in Denver to offer patients access to the Dolorclast®. Developed using cutting-edge research and technology, this Class-3 medical device underwent extensive testing before being brought to the market. Here at Denver Chiropractic, we often caution our patients about using wellness practices that don’t employ the Dolorclast® for shockwave therapy due to the fact that many poorly made “imitation devices” that are produced in unregulated Chinese factories are floating around out there. The safety and performance of the Dolorclast® make this a world-class device that truly gives new hope to people looking for healing and pain relief beyond options like expensive, risky surgeries or pain medications.

What Should You Expect From Shockwave Therapy?

You may be curious to find out what to expect once you book your first appointment for a shockwave therapy treatment! In fact, there’s probably a big question lingering in your mind already. Does shockwave therapy hurt?

Let’s break the answer down a bit because we don’t have a black-and-white answer to work with! The short answer is that shockwave therapy doesn’t hurt. However, that doesn’t mean that this is a sensation-free, discomfort-free experience. Many patients do experience a minor level of discomfort during shockwave treatments. However, the actual experience that you have will depend on things like your pain tolerance, the duration of treatment needed, and the pain level associated with your injury. For most patients, the treatments are so fast that any discomfort felt is considered negligible.

Each shockwave appointment typically lasts 30 minutes from start to finish. While each plan is tailored to meet the needs of a specific patient, most patients will begin with a weekly treatment for the first month to assess how they respond. If it appears that a bigger intervention is needed, session frequency and duration can be scaled up.

Technically, there is no downtime following shockwave therapy. However, you may be advised to take a day off from any strenuous activity to allow your cells to heal and replenish following a treatment. In fact, shockwave therapy is considered a preferred treatment for athletes and people with physically demanding occupations due to the fact that they are able to remain physically active during treatments without almost no “slowdown” period. This is a big contrast to a treatment option like surgery that can require weeks or months of downtime. Some patients do experience some minor pain, swelling, bruising and numbness at the treatment site. However, symptoms tend to clear up within the first day. If you undergo shockwave treatment, rest assured that you will be provided with detailed after-care instructions to ensure the best outcome! There’s still a lot more to learn about how shockwave therapy is restoring vitality and range of motion for so many people. Next, take a look at the conditions that are commonly treated using shockwave therapy.

Plantar Fasciitis

Among care providers, there is a thought that plantar fasciitis is something we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies! Plantar fasciitis is a condition characterized by an enflamed band of supportive tissue running across the bottom of the foot that creates an intense, stabbing pain at the heel. For many people with this condition, simply stepping out of bed in the morning can be excruciating. In studies, shockwave therapy has been shown to create both immediate and progressive improvement in patients suffering from plantar fasciitis. In addition to reducing pain among patients with plantar fasciitis, shockwave therapy is also shown to restore both function and quality of life.

Tennis Elbow

Common among both athletes and people who perform repetitive motions as part of their job duties, tennis elbow is caused by overloading of the elbow tendons. While the pain often manifests in the outside of the elbow, any pain that’s present within the area spanning from the forearm to the wrist can be tennis elbow. According to one study, extracorporeal shock wave therapy can reduce the severity of pain and improve daily activity in patients newly diagnosed with tennis elbow.

Calcific Tendonitis

A painful condition that occurs when calcium deposits form on tendons, calcific tendonitis can potentially lead to complications if it’s left untreated. Those hard deposits create a great deal of inflammation and restriction. While it can happen to a person at any age, calcific tendonitis is fairly common in people over the age of 40. In a 2016 study involving 34 patients, researchers found shockwave therapy to be an effective treatment method for calcific tendinitis impacting the shoulder joint.

Achilles Tendinopathies

This is a painful, acute injury affecting the Achilles tendon that chiropractors see a lot! Unfortunately, people who try to stay active on the weekends after spending all week sitting in front of a computer are at increased risk for this injury because they often aren’t doing stretches for flexibility and limberness. Multiple studies cite shockwave therapy as an effective treatment for Achilles tendinopathies.

Greater Trochanteric Bursitis

While this condition can impact both the outer hip and exterior upper leg, the underlying cause for pain is always the same. Trochanteric bursitis is a condition that occurs when fluid-filled sacs called bursa that are located at the hip become inflamed. It can be caused by a direct injury, overuse, poor posture, tissue stress or bone spurs. While the pain can be constant, many people living with trochanteric bursitis find that pain increases when they do activities like walking or running.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee)

Pain at the kneecap is a telltale sign of runner’s knee. Common causes of runner’s knee include trauma to the kneecap, a kneecap misalignment or dislocated tissue. There’s a good reason why so many runners and athletes are interested in shockwave therapy. Shockwave therapy can be an effective treatment for treating knee pain that doesn’t require downtime. For people who undergo knee surgery, shockwave therapy can help to speed up the healing of scar tissue during the post-operation phase.

  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome
  • Hamstring Tendinitis
  • Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome
  • Heel Spurs
  • Trigger Points
  • Jumper’s Knee – Infrapatellar Tendinitis
  • Non Healing Bone Fracture
  • Golfer’s Elbow (medial epicondylitis)
  • Shin Splints
  • Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
  • Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy – with and without calcification
  • Achilles Tendinopathy

Learn More About Shockwave Therapy in Denver, Colorado

If you have questions about shockwave therapy, come see Dr. Trent Artichoker at Denver Chiropractic to learn about this cutting-edge therapy. With a long career of treating professional athletes, Dr. Artichoker is equipped to help you develop the best plan of action to feel strong and capable once more! Let’s get to the root cause of your pain or reduced range of motion together. Please contact Denver Chiropractic to book your appointment to learn more about shockwave therapy!

  • Pregnancy
  • Clotting Disorders
  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Corticosteroid Injection within 1 month

Shock waves are waves of sound that carry high amounts of energy. These types of waves are commonly created with explosions, supersonic planes, and medical devices that utilize the therapeutic qualities of controlled shock waves. A controlled focused shockwave helps break up tissue. Early use of this technology were used to break up kidney stones. With today’s technological advances, the shock wave can be used to treat a variety of conditions.

The Swiss Dolorclast® utilizes compressed air to propagate a projectile inside a probe that strikes a surface to create a sound wave that breaks the speed of sound. This wave travels through the target area of tissue and creates cavitations, which are the formation of vapor cavities. Hundreds of thousands of cavitations are created during shockwave therapy. Once the cavitation collapses, a microjet is formed and thus creates a mechanical force that breaks up tissue.

Chronic tendinopathies and other conditions respond very well to this approach, as the process stimulates the body to heal the affected area.

  • Angiogenesis – The formation of blood vessels.
  • Neurogenesis – The formation of nerve cells.
  • Collagen Production
  • Promote Bone Healing
  • Help Remove Chronic Damaged Tissue