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Shockwave Therapy and Back Pain

One third of the population suffers from chronic back pain, which impacts everything from quality of life to relationships and careers. 

Why is chronic pain so difficult to treat?


Each painful episode creates inflammation and scar tissue. Scar tissue has only 70% the strength of normal tissue, making it prone to re-injury. Scar tissue is not flexible, so with every movement comes more inflammation and scar tissue, leading to recurrences of back pain.


Scar tissue alters the functioning of surrounding joints, reducing the nutrition getting to the joints (a major contributor to disc degeneration and joint arthritis). In my practice, I see back, neck, and shoulder pain, lower back and sciatic pain, and post-surgical pain. It’s been there for months to years and many therapies have failed to relieve it because most therapies work best on recent injuries.

Many of you who have these recurring episodes may be telling yourselves that it will go away, or that you can learn to live with it. I want you to know that there is hope, that there is a highly successful, evidence-based treatment for many types of chronic pain. It is being used increasingly by orthopedic surgeons to stabilize their patients’ conditions and create longer lasting results and it has been used as an adjunct in my office for the past twelve years with success rates of up to 91%. This treatment is called Shockwave therapy (or ESWT) and while it was initially developed to break up kidney stones, it has been used for the past 25 years to effectively break up scar tissue, restore the function of the muscle and promote new blood vessel growth, stimulating faster healing. It is effective on many conditions including (but not limited to) back, foot, and arm pain. Results are often experienced within a few visits; treatment is covered by many insurance companies.