What Is Radial Pressure Wave Therapy?

Radial Pressure Wave (RPW) Therapy – Also Known As Shockwave Therapy

Radial pressure wave therapy is a shockwave medical treatment that utilizes ultrasound technology to send high-energy acoustic waves into the target area to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. At the most basic level, RPW therapy stimulates new cell growth. These new, healthy cells replace old, weak, or damaged cells.

Numerous studies prove that radial pressure wave therapy is an effective means of eliminating chronic pain without surgery.

Doctors first used shockwave therapy in the 1990s, to treat kidney stones. They observed that the treatment seemed to accelerate healing in both bone and soft tissues, which led to research into other medical applications of RPW treatments.

The Benefits of Radial Pressure Wave Therapy

Research over the past 20 years shows how RPW shockwave therapy is effective against chronic pain and inflammation.
swspinerehab radial therapy

  • Improved blood flow: The acoustic waves in RPW therapy create microscopic tears in tissues, which causes the body to create new blood vessels. This increases blood flow and oxygenation to the treatment area, promoting faster healing.
  • Reduces inflammation: Chronic inflammation causes pain and reduced function. Mast cells help fight inflammation; acoustic waves increase mast cell activity.
  • Increased collagen production: Collagen is vital to bone and joint health as it is a key component in the structure of muscle, skin, and connective tissues. Shockwave therapy causes your body to increase collagen production, creating a strong support structure for new cells.
  • Reduces calcification: Damaged tendons typically have a buildup of calcium. Acoustic waves break through that calcium buildup, which the body then expels naturally.
  • Interrupts the “pain train”: Your body sends pain messages via a neurotransmitter called Substance P. Shockwave therapy lowers Substance P concentrations, interrupting those pain messages. That reduced concentration also inhibits your body’s inflammatory response to provide even more pain relief.
  • Relaxes trigger points: Extreme muscle tension in the back, neck, shoulders, and limbs (your body’s pain trigger points) impedes blood flow to those areas. This causes pain as the muscle no longer receives enough oxygen. Blood flow is also how your body removes waste. Lack of oxygen and waste buildup causes even more tension in the muscle, creating a cycle known as metabolic crisis. Acoustic wave therapy releases the tension in these trigger points, easing pain and breaking the cycle.

What to Expect - A RPW Shockwave Therapy Demonstration

Shockwave therapy is relatively quick and easy. Dr. Taylor begins with a physical exam to determine the precise area requiring treatment. Next, he applies a gel ointment that allows the RPW applicator to glide smoothly across the skin. Finally, using gentle pressure, he pushes the applicator over the treatment area. In the video below, Dr. Taylor demonstrates the process on a patient who has plantar fasciitis.

Conditions Treatable with RPW Therapy

Southwest Spine & Rehab uses radial pressure wave therapy to treat a wide variety of conditions.
Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Bone spurs

Calcium deposits on the heel bone may cause a growth known as a spur to develop. Acoustic waves break up calcification to relieve pain and return functionality.

Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Chronic tendinopathy

Overuse and acute injury may cause chronic inflammation of the tendon (known as tendinopathy). Although it is most common in the Achilles tendon, this condition may occur throughout the body. Patients usually experience symptom relief within three to five treatments.

Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Hip Pain

Muscles and tendons in your hips often suffer from overuse, particularly as you age. RPW reduces inflammation, speeds healing, and eliminates pain.

Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Insertional tendinitis

Inflammation of the Achilles tendon typically occurs due to calcification or a bone spur. RPW increases blood flow to the area to speed healing and reduce pain.

Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Jumper’s knee

Patients who have this difficult-to-treat condition typically feel pain relief immediately following the first treatment.

Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Medial tibial stress syndrome

Repetitive stress to the shin area, typically due to walking or running on hard or uneven surfaces, often causes pain and inflammation. Shockwave therapy gets you back on your feet twice as quickly as traditional RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, elevation).

Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Rotator cuff calcification

This condition causes pain and reduced range of motion. Acoustic wave therapy breaks up calcium deposits for quick, lasting relief of symptoms.

Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Shoulder pain

Calcification, chronic inflammation, or acute injury may cause shoulder pain and limited function. Most patients experience significant reduction in symptoms within four treatments.

Radial Pressure Wave Therapy wand

Tennis Elbow

Traditional treatments for epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, include steroid injections and pain medications. Neither offers a permanent solution. In addition, pain medications are highly addictive and should be avoided whenever possible. Shockwave therapy offers permanent pain relief in only a few sessions.

Call Southwest Spine & Rehab

If you’re looking for non-surgical, drug-free relief from your pain, schedule an appointment with Southwest Spine & Rehab today. We’re dedicated to helping patients achieve total body health and wellness. That’s why we work with you to resolve the issue that’s causing your pain, not simply hide it with medication.

SW Spine uses the Chattanooga Intelect RPW to perform radial pressure wave treatment. Created by DJO Global, this top-of-the-line equipment offers the latest technology in shockwave therapy.