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Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

Shockwave (ESWT) therapy is a highly effective, non-invasive and long-lasting treatment for the reduction of pain associated with the musculoskeletal system in a fast way. Shockwave therapy has been used within elite sport for years but its application within the wider population is growing and proving incredibly beneficial.

Here’s what we cover:

  • What is Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)
  • What does Shockwave Therapy treat?
  • Benefits of Shockwave Therapy
  • What To Expect During Your Treatment
  • How Will You Feel After Treatment?
  • Are there any contraindications for Shockwave Therapy?
  • Does private health insurance cover Shockwave therapy ?
  • If you want to know more about HOW SHOCK WAVE THERAPY WORK

What is Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

Shockwave (ESWT) therapy is a highly effective, non-invasive and long-lasting treatment for the reduction of pain associated with the musculoskeletal system in a fast way.

The technology is based on lithotripsy, which has been used for many years to treat kidney stones. Shockwaves refers to mechanical pressure pulses that are focused on the injured area using a special applicator. These shockwaves will break down scar tissue and calcifications in the area, which in chronic cases the body is unable to repair itself.

As the shockwave breaks down the tissue, the body naturally starts generating new tissue by increasing blood circulation, the number of blood vessels and therefore metabolism in the injured tissue. This will improve healing, function and relief of pain.

ESWT is typically used to treat chronic tendon problems, such as: tennis and golfers’ elbow, Achilles tendinopathy, plantar fasciitis, shoulder and hip pain.

If you have been struggling with any of these conditions, you’ll know how incredibly stubborn they can be. Shockwave therapy can help accelerate the rehab process dramatically and provide outstanding results in a substantially reduced length of time.

Patients that have failed to respond to standard rehabilitation exercises and treatments usually show a great improvement when prescribed with ESWT.

The shockwaves are also effective by reducing nerve sensitivity in the affected area. This results in faster recovery from injury and short term pain relief from a number of musculoskeletal conditions.


Current Guidelines published by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend ESWT as an effective treatment pathway for several musculoskeletal conditions, when incorporated with a rehabilitation plan (physiotherapy hands on and active exercises plan).

What does Shockwave treat?

Shockwave has different effects in nerves, tendons, muscles, cartilage and bones but it is mainly used in tendon related injuries. Additionally, therapists use shockwave treat calcifications and heel spurs.

You are the perfect candidate for Shockwave if you have had any type of pain coming from soft tissue. Here some examples of the types of problems that we see and successfully manage in the clinic:

If you have any doubts regarding Shockwave and its suitability for your problem – call the clinic for free advice.

Benefits of Shockwave Therapy

Loss of joint range of movement and muscle mass are two of the main indicators of how we age. If we remain mobile and relatively strong, our quality of life will be maintained. Several soft tissue problems like the ones mentioned above can directly impact our day-to-day function creating weakness,
pain and loss of flexibility.

If you have ever had a chronic problem such as tendon pain, plantar fasciitis or rotator cuff problems then you will know the long term, uncomfortable struggle you may have had with your symptoms. Shockwave helps to kick start recovery from deep-set injuries where improvement seemed hopeless, despite other treatments.

Due to its ability to break down tissue, reduce pain and helping regenerate tissue the therapy will accelerate all of tissue repair, cell growth and mobility restoration and has be shown to reduce pain by over 60%. It also improves your healing times when combined with active rehabilitation and manual therapy. In many instances, there will be an immediate reduction in pain, as well as improved mobility and functionality.

What to expect during your treatment

An accurate assessment including various orthopaedic tests and a discussion about your goals of your treatment is the beginning of all our first sessions. If the application of our shockwave is required, the treatment will be added at the end of the assessment session, which usually last approximately 45 minutes. The therapist will glide the shockwave probe over the identified target area using a water based gel. Different parts of the body and different conditions will need tailored treatment protocols, using different intensities and frequencies. The amount of shocks which can be administered are limited in one session.

The shockwaves are felt as pulses which can be at time a little uncomfortable but not painful. Typically your first treatment will start with a low level of intensity and increase this to a point where you feel comfortable.

We usually suggest to have shock-wave therapy treatments at weekly intervals. Each treatment session is combined with active exercises and /or manual therapy and will takes about 30 minutes. You may need between 3 to 5 treatment sessions (possibly more for resistant problems).

How Will You Feel After Treatment?

Despite feeling some mild discomfort during the treatment – you will feel immediate pain relief following the end of the session. Occasionally you will feel some discomfort which is part of the natural response of the tissue and this should ease within 36 hours.

An injured area usually presents some weakness and deconditioning of the tissue. Also the movement pattern will show some adaptations which need to be rectified. ESWT treatment helps to bring the injured area back to life, then, specialist rehab exercises need to be performed alongside treatment for your specific problem to stand the best chances of recovery.

It is advisable after treatment that you do not perform any strenuous tasks or heavy lifting/exercise.

Are there any contraindications for shockwave?

You should not have Shockwave treatment if you have any of the following:

  • Epiphysis – open growth plates in children
  • Open wounds / post-surgical wounds
  • Clotting disorders / anti-coagulant medication being taken
  • Joint replacements – may cause loosening (treatment to non-replaced joints will be possible)
  • people with pre-ruptured tendons
  • Infection / Fever / Illness
  • Pregnant
  • Cancer
  • not to apply over an air-filled tissue, like the abdomen or the lungs.
  • Corticosteroid – wait 1 month

Are there any side effects?

Shockwave therapy has minimal side effects that usually disappear within 36 hours. The most common are discomfort during and after, reddening of the skin. On rare occasion petechia (little red spots on the skin), swelling and numbness on the area treated can appear.

You can book an appointment with a specialist Swissphysio via our Booking Page

Safety and your well-being are at the center of what we do.

Does private health insurance cover shockwave therapy ?

Yes. Most private health insurance companies cover the cost of treatment for shockwave therapy although it is advised you contact your insurer prior to booking a consultation to clarify their rules.

How to access treatment?

You can book online here or call us on 0191 296 0567. If you have private medical insurance, speak to your insurance company, as they may cover for the treatment.