Total Therapy Blog

Welcoming Shockwave Therapy to Total Therapy!

What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment that uses high pressure sound waves to stimulate healing in damaged soft tissue. When applied to a specific area of the body, the sound waves have the ability to increase blood supply to the area and aid in tissue repair, a response that is necessary in healing musculoskeletal injuries.

This treatment has been clinically proven to relieve pain quickly and effectively (within 3-5 sessions) and helps soft tissue heal within 6 weeks after treatment.

Is shockwave therapy right for me?

During your initial session, your practitioner will assess whether or not shockwave therapy could benefit you as a part of your treatment plan.

Shockwave therapy has many uses, but in particular it is an ideal treatment for chronic and acute pain from various tendinopathies (ie, injuries to the tendon) such as:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Plantar fasciopathy

Who should NOT receive shockwave therapy?

Please make sure your practitioner is aware if you have:

  • A cardiac pacemaker
  • Implants
  • Surgical materials (i.e. screws, plates, etc.)

Direct contact with shockwaves should be avoided in the areas of the body where the above materials are present. Shockwave therapy can still be done in these circumstances, but with caution.

What would the first session look like?

During your first session, your practitioner will fully assess you and your injury. If your practitioner believes that shockwave therapy will be beneficial to you, they will clearly explain the treatment process and set clear expectations in regards to what you should expect from the therapy. Shockwave therapy will be one part of your treatment plan, and your practitioner may also suggest other modalities and rehabilitation techniques to supplement shockwave therapy in order to treat your injury effectively.

The actual shockwave treatment will begin with the practitioner applying ultrasound gel at the treatment site. The practitioner will program the machine to the setting that will be most beneficial to you and your injury, and will apply the guiding tube and metal applicator to the treatment site (see picture below). The therapy can be uncomfortable at this point, so communication with your practitioner is key to finding a setting that you can tolerate but that will still be effective in healing your injury. The shockwave treatment lasts about five minutes, after which your practitioner may continue on to other modalities of treatment during the remainder of your session.


How is shockwave therapy different from ultrasound?

Many studies have been conducted that compare the effects of shockwave therapy to those of ultrasound. Although both therapies showed benefits in healing soft tissue, shockwave therapy has consistently shown more significant improvements to chronic and acute pain as well as faster soft tissue healing than ultrasound. The high pressure sound waves emitted during shockwave therapy have a much higher energy than oscillating ultrasound waves and therefore have a greater physical effect on the tissue that they pass through. 

Does it hurt?

Shockwave therapy can be uncomfortable to receive, but your therapist will work with you to determine what you can tolerate.  Therefore, if something is too painful for you, please communicate with your therapist and treatment can be stopped or lowered to a different mode of action.  

Although shockwave therapy may be painful during treatment, pain relief from the injury being treated has been shown to occur in as few as 3-5 sessions.

Who can provide Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave therapy can be provided by both registered physiotherapists and chiropractors!  For easy access, please visit our website at to book online at either the North Burnaby or Metrotown location.  

Price Breakdown 

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