Lifemark physiotherapist Annick deGooyer uses the clinic’s new Shockwave therapy with Steven Sasyniuk.

Shockwave treatment offers new option for physiotherapists

Treatment shows promise for some tough-to-treat conditions

If you’ve been struggling with chronic painful conditions like tennis elbow or plantar fasciitis, a new physiotherapy treatment may help you turn the corner on recovery.

Shockwave, a familiar tool in other areas of medicine, is proving useful in physiotherapy for patients who haven’t responded to other treatment for chronic tendinopathies – commonly referred to as tendinitis, explains Annick deGooyer, physiotherapist and Clinic Director Lifemark’s West Kelowna location.

Whether from sport, over-use or repetitive strain, common conditions Shockwave might help include tennis elbow, achilles, rotator cuff, plantar fasciitis, jumper’s knee or calcific tendinitis of the shoulder.

“Having shockwave available to use with our patients means we have another tool for stubborn, chronic tendinopathy,” deGooyer says, noting Shockwave is available in Lifemark’s Capital News Centre, Richter and West Kelowna clinics.

“There are some tendon conditions that just don’t seem to respond to all the things that typically help, and it’s exciting for us to have something that has been shown to be effective in these conditions.”

Shockwave as physiotherapy: what is it?

Originally developed for use in treating kidney stones, Shockwave therapy is becoming more common in the field of physiotherapy, where it uses a much lower energy than in medical applications.

Shockwave therapy, or extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), treats a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, primarily those involving connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons. Emitting high-energy pulses through the tissue being treated, Shockwave causes localized microtrauma which stimulates the body’s healing processes and cell growth.

What does Shockwave treatment look like?

Each patient is assessed by their physiotherapist at their first visit to confirm whether they’re an appropriate candidate for Shockwave therapy.

“We ensure they’re educated in their condition and what they may need to be doing in conjunction with treatment, such as activity modification or specific exercises,” deGooyer says. “We’ll also assess any contributing issues such as posture or tightness/weakness of other muscle groups.”

Shockwave treatment is usually performed weekly for three to six weeks, depending on results. While the treatment can cause mild discomfort, it only lasts four to five minutes, and physiotherapists can adjust the intensity to keep it comfortable.

“As physiotherapists we can get as frustrated as our patients when they don’t get better, so we’re happy to be able to offer another option,” she says.

***

Lifemark Health Group provides rehabilitation, medical assessments, seniors wellness and sport medicine programs at more than 140 locations across Canada. Kelowna residents have four Lifemark clinics to choose from:

Lifemark Harvey Avenue, 104-1634 Harvey Ave., 250-860-4122

Lifemark Physiotherapy Richter Street, 301-3330 Richter St., 250-762-3322

Lifemark Sport Medicine – CNC, 200-4105 Gordon Dr., 250-764-7505

Lifemark Physiotherapy West Kelowna, 111 – 2231 Louie Dr. 250-768-7101

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