Shockwave Therapy | Nose Creek Physiotherapy, Calgary

Shockwave Therapy

What is “Shockwave Therapy”

Shockwave is a non-invasive therapy which originated in the 1960’s. It was used to transmit acoustic waves into the body to disintegrate kidney stones and gallstones without damaging any tissue in between the applicator and the stones. Shockwaves are acoustic pulses. In the medical field the shockwaves propagate through the body using ultrasound gel as a medium.

How the Acoustic Wave is Created Using Radial Shockwave

The compressed air causes the projectile inside the applicator to collides repeatedly with the transmitter (part of the applicator which makes contact with the patient). This results in the transmitter creating an acoustic wave which is then transmitted to the patient.

Radial Shockwave

Analgesic Effect Elimination of Pain

Decrease of muscle tension, inhibition of spasms 

Hyperaemia is one of the basic effects of shockwave therapy in the body. It provides better energy supply to hypertonic muscles and their ligamentous structures. Furthermore, it causes the lessening of pathological interactions between actin and myosin. This leads to significant reduction of muscle tension.

Analgesic Effect

Acceleration of Healing

Increase of collagen production

The production of a sufficient amount of collagen is a necessary precondition for the repair processes to the damaged myoskeletal and ligamentous structures.

Improved metabolism and microcirculation

The SWT technology accelerates removal of nociceptive metabolites, increases oxygenation and supplies the damaged tissue with a source of energy. It supports  removal of histamine & lactic acid.

New blood vessel formation

New blood vessel formation is caused by SWT through creating capillary microruptures in tendon and bone, thus triggering the repair process.


Mobility Restoration

Dissolving of calcified fibroblasts

The SWT technology dissolves calcified fibroblasts and starts subsequent biochemical decalcification of primary calcaria or secondary symptoms of arthrosis.


Who We Do Not Do Shockwave On

  • Application to certain tissues: The eyes and the surrounding area, the myocardium, the spinal cord, the
    gonads, the kidneys and the liver
  • Blood disorders, coagulation problems or the use of anticoagulants
  • Blood thinning medications (Warfarinization)
  • Polypus in the area of treatment
  • Pregnancy
  • Thrombosis
  • Tumor diseases
  • Polyneuropathy
  • Acute inflammation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Application in proximity to bone growth zone in children
  • Therapy using local corticosteroid application in therapy area
  • Inapplicable on areas of the body and organs with possible gas content
  • Inapplicable on areas in proximity to large nerve bundles, blood vessels, the spinal cord and the head

Who is “Shockwave Therapy” for?

Shockwave is for chronic conditions that have existed for 3 months or more. We do not use Shockwave for new/acute injuries that are less than 12 weeks old.

There are 3 target tissues: Bone, tendon, and muscle:


Bone: acromioclavicular joints, Superficial tendons and their attachments, Calcification of tendons in the Rotator Cuff, + Heel spurs on Calcaneus bone where your Plantar Fascia attaches.


Superficial Small muscles: (top Layer) forearm, lower leg, rotator cuff, upper trapezius, + levator scapulae muscles.


Large and Deep Muscles: Gluteals, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, latissimus dorsi, pectorals, + spinal muscles.

Our team has lots of experience both professionally and personally with chronic tendinopathy, calcification of tendons, moderate to severe muscle strains/tears, and osteoarthritic joint pathology which shockwave can help.

As a team we have all had some or all of these injuries and conditions listed above, and that gives us a distinct clinical advantage due to our extensive experience with this injuries and conditions.

Most Common Injuries/Conditions to Treat Successfully With Shockwave Therapy:

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    Foot: Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles tendonosis
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    Knee: Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, Infrapatellar tendonosis.
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    Shoulder: Calcification of tendons in the Rotator Cuff
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    Elbow: Lateral and medial epicondylitis (Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow)
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    Muscles: Chronic traumatic muscle tears like whiplash with tight muscles and loss in range of motion

Important Info if You’re Considering Shockwave Therapy:

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    This is not a pain relieving modality. This is an aggressive modality that may make you feel pain.
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    Our goal is to increase their functional ROM, strength, and later pain relief will come.
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    Important to mobilize the tissue post treatment with either Manual Therapy +/or rehabilitation injury specific stretches and exercises.
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    We do not promise pain relief – the effect is days later.
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    Healing will occur between shockwave sessions.
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    You may awaken with bruise the next day. We do not treat if bruise has not resolved, leave you for one more week.

Frequency, Duration, and What to Expect:

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    Shockwave can only be done once per week.
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    Duration – depends on the severity and chronicity of the injury, but the average # of treatments is 6.
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    You will experience an ache during treatment, but the Physiotherapist will work with you on adjusting the intensity to your level of comfort. Generally, we start low and increase the intensity on each round of treatments.
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    A “round” is the number of shocks to the target tissue. This number is dictated by the 3 groups we talked about earlier. The larger the tissue the more shocks that will be required to stimulate the tissue to get the clinical response we are looking for.
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    You will hear a soft ticking noise while the machine is on. That is the noise produced from the compressions coming out of the head of the applicator on the shockwave unit.

What is the Cost of Shockwave Therapy?

Cost: we do not charge more for the shockwave treatments, they are included in our regular private fee. Most of our clients have extended health benefits that we can direct bill. Some will have a co-pay some will have full coverage, it really depends on your individual plan.

If you have any other questions about shockwave, please give us a call today at (403) 295-8590 to arrange a FREE telephone consultation or come in for a FREE Discovery visit to talk to one of our Physiotherapist to see, if shockwave is an appropriate treatment strategy for you.

Take care, Talk soon.

Your Nose Creek Sport Physiotherapy team.

"What People Are Saying About Shockwave Therapy..."

Brenda, late 50's from Calgary - Treated for Shoulder Pain

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