Therapeutic shock waves were introduced into medicine as a treatment for eliminating kidney stones 20 years ago! Discovered as a side effect was the effect on bone healing (bone density increase) as well as accelerated tissue healing in the area.
There are basically two different methods:
1.) Focused shockwaves – Electromagnetically generated, high energy, deep penetration, and precisely focussed in small spot.
2.) Radial Shockwaves – Radial shockwaves are often referred as radial pressure waves. In physical terms this is the correct definition.
The radial pressure waves are pneumatically generated pulses (compressed air). The compressed air is used to drive a projectile in a cylinder inside the hand piece to a shock transmitter. The kinetic energy generating from the motion and weight of the projectile converts into acoustic energy when the projectile hits the shock transmitter. The acoustic pulses then transmit into the underlying tissue, treating a larger area than the focused shockwave. The highest energy of the pressure waves will be at the surface of the treatment point, gradually decreasing as the penetration depth increases. The penetration depths are normally 1-3cm.
Radial pressure waves offer a non- invasive treatment solution to long term insertion and soft tissue pathologies. Local treatment in the affected area will support and reset the healing pattern.
There are today several working hypothesis for the physical effects of radial pressure waves: