An Introduction to Shockwave Therapy
Shockwave therapy is one of the fastest-growing treatments for ED. It has a unique history and many diverse medical applications outside ED
What Is a Shockwave?
Before describing Shockwave Therapy, it is useful to understand a little bit about shockwaves. Shockwaves are a special type of sound energy wave created by a movement that is faster than the speed of sound. The resulting wave has unique physical characteristics as shown in the illustration below of the energy profile of a shockwave.
As shown, a shockwave has an extremely short, high-pressure spike followed by a low-tensile wave. Decades ago, researchers found that these unique characteristics allow shockwaves to penetrate deeply into tissue which began what has become a medical revolution.
Shockwaves in Medicine
Shockwaves were first used medically in 1980 by focusing high-intensity shockwaves to break up a patient’s kidney stones. This procedure, known as lithotripsy, is now the treatment of first choice with millions of successful procedures performed over the past 40 years.
Thereafter, research began on low-intensity shockwaves to address a variety of medical conditions. Researchers found that shockwaves stimulated the body’s ability to increase blood flow and regenerate tissue in the treated area. While the exact mechanism of action remains unclear, it is believed that the initial positive pressure spike and cavitation during the subsequent low-tensile wave create micro-trauma at the cellular level that significantly increases the expression of growth factors such as eNOS, VEGF, PCNS, and BMP. In turn, existing blood vessels are remodeled and new ones formed in order to carry more blood to the treated area (a process often referred to as angiogenesis or neovascularization) in order to regenerate local tissue.
In Europe during the early 2000s, urologists began to use Shockwave Therapy to treat men’s sexual health issues. Shockwave Therapy has emerged worldwide as a primary treatment for erectile dysfunction and other sexual health issues because it is not only effective, but unlike other treatment options, addresses the root causes of ED, not merely the symptoms, and does so without any known side effects. Shockwave Therapy can help men restore and protect their sexual health, unlike any other available treatments.
Is Shockwave Therapy Used to Treat Anything Else?
You, like many people, may never have heard of Shockwave Therapy. In fact, it may even sound like science fiction or just too good to be true. However, Shockwave Therapy is used today to treat a remarkably broad and increasing range of medical conditions. In addition to effectively treating men’s sexual health concerns, examples of other conditions for which Shockwave Therapy is widely used include:
- Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
- Medial epicondylitis (golfers elbow)
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
- Plantar fasciitis, with or without heel spur
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Greater trochanteric pain syndrome
- Patellar tendinitis
- Pes Anserine bursitis
- Peroneal tendinopathy
- Foot and ankle tendinitis
- Delayed bone healing
- Bone non-union (pseudarthroses)
- Stress fracture
- Avascular necrosis
- Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)
- Delayed or non-healing wounds
- Skin ulcers
- Non-circumferential burn wounds
- Tibial stress syndrome (shin splint)
- Bone marrow edema
- Osgood Schlatter disease
- Myofascial Syndrome
- Muscle sprain
- Dupuytren disease
- Plantar fibromatosis (Ledderhose disease)
- De Quervain disease
- Muscle spasticity
- Chronic pelvic pain syndrome (nonbacterial prostatitis)
- Heart ischemia
- Peripheral nerve lesions
- Spinal cord and brain pathologies
- Calcinosis cutis
- Periodontal disease
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
What Shockwave Therapy Is Not
One more important thing to know about Shockwave Therapy is what it is not. The remarkable medical benefits of Shockwave Therapy result from the unique characteristics of the shockwaves themselves. While that may seem like a statement of the obvious, there is a dirty secret among ED clinics. Many of these clinics, including some of those that are spending the most advertising, claim to provide Shockwave Therapy but actually use devices that generate radial pressure waves, not true shockwaves. Below is the energy profile of a radial pressure wave.
Does it matter? Just look at their websites and you will see that any studies that they reference pertain to shockwaves, not radial pressure waves. Why? Because there has been no published study on the efficacy of radial pressure waves in treating men’s sexual health. And why not? Because unlike shockwaves, radial pressure waves do not have meaningful therapeutic treatment depth nor do they trigger the cellular-level reactions necessary to stimulate the body’s regenerative abilities. Radial pressure waves cannot do what true shockwaves can because, simply, they are not shockwaves.
You deserve the best opportunity to restore and protect your sexual health because your life is too short to accept anything less. If you see a device similar to the one below, you can know you are in the wrong place.
At Metro Men’s Health, we have the right technology and proven treatment protocols personalized to each of our patient’s circumstances. We are ready to help you restore and protect your sexual health. The first step in seeing if Shockwave Therapy is right for your sexual health is to visit with a doctor that specializes in this exciting treatment innovation to evaluate your circumstances and explore your options. If you have already scheduled your evaluation, you are on your way to a healthier you. If you’re still on the fence, call us for more information or to schedule an initial evaluation with one of our doctors. Call a clinic near you or request information by filling out our online form.