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Shockwave Therapy for Back Pain: Is It Effective?

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including back pain. This therapy involves the use of high-intensity sound waves to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes and promote tissue regeneration. In the case of back pain, shockwave therapy can be used to target the muscles and soft tissues that are causing the pain, providing relief and promoting healing.

Types of Shockwave Therapy

There are two main types of shockwave therapy: radial and focused. Radial shockwave therapy involves the use of a handheld device that delivers high-intensity sound waves to the affected area in a diffuse pattern. Focused shockwave therapy, on the other hand, uses a more precise targeting system to deliver the sound waves directly to the affected tissue.


In both types of shockwave therapy, the sound waves create a controlled microtrauma in the affected tissue. This microtrauma triggers the body’s natural healing processes, including the production of new blood vessels and the release of growth factors. This, in turn, helps to promote tissue regeneration and repair.

Shockwave Therapy for Backpain

When it comes to back pain, shockwave therapy can be particularly effective for conditions such as chronic low back pain, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. It can also be used to treat muscle and soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains.

The treatment process for shockwave therapy typically involves a series of sessions, depending on the severity of the condition being treated. Each session usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, and most patients will require multiple sessions in order to achieve optimal results.


During the treatment, the patient may feel a slight discomfort or tingling sensation in the affected area, but this is generally mild and tolerable. After the treatment, patients may experience some soreness or stiffness in the treated area, but this typically subsides within a few days.

Shockwave therapy is generally considered to be a safe and effective treatment option for back pain, particularly when other treatments have been unsuccessful. However, there are some situations in which shockwave therapy may not be appropriate.

For example, patients who are pregnant, have a pacemaker or have a history of blood clots may not be suitable candidates for shockwave therapy. Additionally, patients with certain medical conditions, such as cancer or infections, may also not be candidates for this treatment.

As with any medical treatment, it is important for patients to discuss their individual circumstances with their healthcare provider before undergoing shockwave therapy for back pain. Your healthcare provider will be able to evaluate your condition and determine whether or not this treatment is appropriate for you.


In summary, shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment option for back pain that can be highly effective in promoting healing and reducing pain. While it may not be appropriate for everyone, it is generally considered to be a safe and well-tolerated treatment option. If you are experiencing back pain and are interested in exploring shockwave therapy as a treatment option, be sure to call us and see if shockwave therapy is right for you. All of our physiotherapists and chiropractors at Encompass Sports Therapy are fully trained in shockwave therapy.

Written by: Dr. Mike Belding
Chiropractor, B.Sc, ART