Shock waves are acoustic pulses with high positive pressure, fast and steep rise time followed by comparatively small negative pressure (tensile wave).
Shock waves surround everyday life. They are generated by supersonic aircraft, explosions, lightning, earthquakes or other phenomena that create violent changes in pressure. Shock waves differ from sound waves in that the wavefront, in which compression takes place, is a region of sudden and violent change in stress, density, and temperature. Shock waves travel faster than sound and their speed increases as the amplitude are raised.
Below is an example of a shock wave in nature. The pistol shrimp use their shockwaves to protect their mates. Watch how its claw opens and shuts to fire off a powerful water jet at speeds up to 30 metres per second (67 mph). Note, the high-speed water isn’t what harms its target – it’s the resulting shock wave.
Researchers have measured its sound. At a volume of about 200 decibels, it’s louder than a .22 calibre rifle shot. The pistol shrimp pops are some of the loudest in the ocean, second only to sperm whale clicks.
Shockwave Therapy, or Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (EWST), is a non-invasive treatment that involves the delivery of shock waves to an injured area to promote healing. This treatment produces highly effective shock waves that initiate biological regeneration processes at the cellular level.
Treatment involving technology that applies short, frequent, and high intensity bursts of mechanical energy (in the form of a shockwave) into soft-tissue that is injured, scarred, or contains adhesions, is painful, or inflamed.
Generates a large positive pressure wave followed by
a negative pressure wave.
Mechanical stimulus leads to biochemical reactions. Biomolecules are release and cell signaling is activated.
Angiogenesis, inflammatory modulation, stimulation of tissue regeneration.
Fluorescent stained mitochondria before and after unfocused shock wave
Angiogenesis changes before and after shock wave
The angiogenic effect of shockwave treatment is probably the most extensively described issue in shockwave science.
The induction of vessel sprouting has been reported in wounds, bone, muscle, heart, and skin.
Tepeköylü C et al, Shockwave treatment induces angiogenesis and mobilizes endogenous CD31/CD34-positive endothelial cells in a hindlimb ischemia model: implications for angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013 Oct;146(4):971-8.
There are many names in the marketplace, which are similar in concept but THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.
A true shock wave is characterized by a single, mostly positive pressure pulse followed by a comparatively small tensile wave.
There are 3 types of true shock wave therapies and 1 assumed type that is not a true shock wave therapy
ACOUSTIC PNEUMATIC/RADIAL – Not shock wave
(Radial is a pressure wave NOT a true shock wave according to ISMST – International Society for Medical Shockwave Treatment)
Within shock wave therapy, it can be considered High Intensity and Low Intensity
High Intensity Focused
Lithotripsy : Laser beam, exploding kidneys stones
Low Intensity Focused
Wound Healing, delayed non-healing fractures; Laser pointer
Low Intensity Unfocused
Treats Musculoskeletal, Burns, Wound Healing, Erectile Dysfunction, Peyronnie’s disease,
Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder, Pelvic Pain, Incontinence, Interstitial Cystitis, and more
There are 2 types of Low Intensity shock waves: FOCUSED AND UNFOCUSED
The depth of penetration, the width of penetration, and patient tolerance are different.
Bone pathologies: Success Rate 99%
Rodriguez et al., 2008. 11th ISMST Congress in Juan le Pins, France, Abstract No. 37.
Non-Unions: Success Rate 88.5%
Haffner et al., 2016. Injury, 47(7), 1506–1513. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.injury.2016.04.010
Calcifying Tendonitis of the Shoulder: Success Rate 87.9%
Hsu et al., 2008. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 17(1), 55–59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jse.2007.03.023
Plantar Fasciitis: Patient Satisfaction 81.5%
Fansa et al., 2020. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Calcific Tendinosis of the Rotator Cuff: Patient Satisfaction 84%
Serrano et al., 2014. 17th ISMST Congress in Milano, Italy Abstract No. 38.
Heel Spurs: Success Rate 76%
Sergej Marx, Richard Thiele, 2007. 10th IMST Congress in Toronto, Abstract No. 63.