What is an acoustic wave?
An acoustic wave is a strong pressure wave in any elastic medium that creates significant changes in pressure.
Acoustic waves alter the mechanical, electrical and thermal properties of solids and thus, have recently been found to aid in the healing process within the body.
AWT, consists of several continuous sound waves (or acoustic pulses) which have high amplitude, are very short in length and place negative tension on the body’s tissues. It does not involve electrical current or shock.
The shockwaves are produced by a projectile hitting a plate at high velocity utilizing air pressure. A gel is utilized on the skin to help the acoustic energy enter the body.
The Origin of Acoustic Wave Therapy
Acoustic Wave Therapy was first developed in the 1960s after first being discovered during World War II. Its first medical use was to break down kidney stones (which was a medical breakthrough for its time), as surgery was extremely invasive to the body.
By the 1980s, after decades of use on kidney stone removal, AWT technology was fine-tuned to be used therapeutically-by assisting in the repair of damaged tissues in the body.
Treatment with the use of AWT eventually made its way to Canada in the late 1990s, and is now widely used in therapy clinics in the U.S. and across the globe today. It is called by a variety of names such as Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT), Shockwave Therapy, Low Energy Shockwave Therapy (LESW) and Low Intensity Extracorporal Shockwave Therapy (Li-ESWT)
Clinical Benefits of AWT
- Pain reduction (often immediate)
- Increased mobility of joints (often immediate)
- Relaxation of muscle and connective tissue
- Improved microcirculation
- Decreased inflammation
- Acceleration of metabolic activity
- Healing of nerve, bone, muscle, tendon, etc.
These results may generally last for 5-8 days. Some increased slight discomfort occasionally occurs. Generally, optimal an optimal treatment program is approximately weekly for 5 – 10 treatments. Decreased tenderness and pain and general improvement is cumulative and can be long lasting. Repeat treatment can be utilized if symptoms recur.
On average, healthcare providers currently using AWT at their practices have reported an approximate 75% rate of complete recovery among their patients.
Why Acoustic Wave Therapy is Safe
Acoustic waves are only sound waves, which have never been found to cause long-lasting side effects or damage. Additionally, AWT does not alter cell structure, which means acoustic waves have no effect on nerves, bones or organs in the body.
Conditions Treatable with the Use of AWT
Acoustic Wave Therapy may aid in the treatment of acute, chronic or painful soft tissue lesions of the musculoskeletal system. AWT may be helpful many musculoskeletal conditions including:
- Scar tissue, Adhesions
- Muscle / tendon strain
- Bone fractures
- Non-healing fractures
- Chronic neck pain
- Chronic back pain
- Chronic pelvic pain
Hips and Knees
- Hip Bursitis
- ITB Syndrome
- Knee clicking / grinding
- Chronic knee pain
- Shin splints
Feet and Ankles
- Ankle sprain
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Heel spurs
- Diabetic Neuropathy
Shoulders, Arms and Hands
- Frozen Shoulder
- Rotator cuff pain
- Shoulder impingement
- Shoulder Bursitis
- Tennis Elbow
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- TMJ Pain or clicking