You might already hear about Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) as one of the most effective non-surgical techniques. You might hear it also in various types of clinics advertising its effectiveness. But, you might associate it with something that releases electrical energy and you might be afraid of the effect. To discover unbias information, let’s unveil some facts and research-based benefits about it.

What is Radial Shockwave Therapy?

Radial shockwave therapy is a non-surgical treatment.  Using a shockwave device, it produces a series of acoustic waves with high-frequency energy. With direct application to the area of injury or painful spots and myoskeletal tissues, it promotes regeneration, and reparative processes of the bones, tendons, and other soft tissues. It enables the body to stimulate its natural healing process.

The process starts by locating the painful spots. Then, the contact gel is applied. And finally, shockwave device will now start sound wave transmission into the injury or painful spots.

Widely used in Physiotherapy, it is now becoming more popular. You may have read this type of therapy claiming lots of beneficial effects. But what these research studies are saying about its effectiveness. Together, let’s discover the research-based benefits of Radial Shockwave Therapy.

Key Research-Based Benefits of Radial Shockwave Therapy

Below are the key results of the studies showing that radial shockwave therapy (RSWT) is effective and safe in treating the following conditions:

Low Back Pain (LBP)

A study published in Clinical Interventions in Aging shows the effectiveness of Radial Shockwave Therapy in treating lower back pain. This study involved a total of 52 patients with LBP containing 40 patients for a homogenous group having a mean age of 53.

Patients randomized into group A and group B. Group A having 20 patients treated with RSWT – (2000 pulses; 2.5 bars; 5 Hz, 7 mins. Then, this therapy applied twice a week within five weeks or equivalent to 10 sessions with stabilization training. While Group B containing 20 patients undergoes sham RSWT and stabilization training.

Analysis of is therapeutic progress involves performing some tests before and after the therapy with 1 and 3 months follow up. This aims also to assess pain and functional efficiency. Among the tests performed are the Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Laitinen Pain Scale (LPS), and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI).

In the long term observation, the results show that group A gradually experiences pain relief than group B. Thus, the radial shockwave therapy combined with stabilization training is much effective in the long run. Observations show that RSWT has a stable beneficial effect on patients with LBP. With its long term usage, it can help in reducing pain and general functional state improvement rather than te use of conventional motor improvement program. Walewicz K, Taradaj J, Rajfur K, et al., (2019)


Tendinopathy exhibits reduced mobility due to the pain made by the movement of the tendons. A study conducted testing the effectiveness and safety of shockwave therapy on people suffering from tendinopathy. The study consisted of 384 patients suffering from tendinopathy. Among these patients, 326 treated with shockwave therapy while the remaining made up the control groups.

The results show that shockwave therapy contributed to pain reduction and improvement of the quality of life. It is also considered as the first choice due to its effectiveness and safety. Dedes V, et al. (2018)

Chronic Plantar Fasciitis

A study from the American Journal of Sports Medicine shows that radial shockwave therapy is effective in the treatment of chronic recalcitrant plantar fasciitis. It is more effective than placebo with a reduction of the visual analog scale composite score of 72.1% comparing with 44.7% (P = .0220), and a success rate of 61.0% compared with 42.2% in the placebo group (P = .0020) at 12 weeks. It is also effective in the long term application. In addition, there are no relevant side effects seen.

With radial shockwave therapy, it can significantly improve pain, functionality, and quality of life comparing with placebo. Gerdesmeyer L, Frey C, Vester J, et al. (2008)

Another study also supports the effectiveness of shockwave therapy in treating chronic Plantar Fasciitis. This study only uses two sessions of RSWT administered to 25 patients while the same number of patients uses placebo treatment.

Application of RSWT is for two sessions, 1 week apart using 2000 impulses with energy flux density that is equal to 0.16 mJ/mm(2) per session. On the other hand, placebo treatment uses clasp on the heel.  End results show that RSWT is much superior to placebo treatment even with just two sessions. Ibrahim MI, et al. (2010)

Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow

One study evaluates the efficacy of RSWT in the treatment of lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. Using a prospective randomized controlled single-blind study with 75 eligible patients. 62 of these patients have tennies elbow randomly assigned – 31 for the study group and 31 for the control group. Then, these groups received the same treatment period – once a week of treatment for a period of 4 weeks. The study group received 2000 impulses while the control group only received 20 impulses of RSWT.

Both study groups show significant differences. But, end results show that RSWT has able to decrease the pain, functional impairment, and an increase of the pain-free grip strength test in patients having a tennis elbow. Thus, RSWT is a safe and effective treatment for patients having a tennis elbow. Spacca G, et al. (2005)

Calcaneal Enthesophytosis or Symptomatic Heel Spurs

Not just only for managing plantar fasciitis, a study also shows that it is also effective for managing symptomatic heel spurs. The result of the study shows that with just a single treatment of shock wave therapy improves the condition of patients having symptomatic heel spurs than compared with placebo treatment.

Using the Roles and Maudsley score showed that there is a significant improvement with the group that uses shockwave therapy compared with the placebo group. The existence of therapy-related side effects such as swelling or petechia are also rare. Butch, M. et al. (2002)

There are still key studies that existed in radial shockwave therapy. It has clinically tested and proven safe and effective for treating various injuries and painful spots.

Considering a Radial Shockwave Therapy in Coquitlam?

At Evergreen Rehab & Wellness we use EMS Swiss DolorClast device to all patients. This device has been tested using a multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled, prospective, double-blind clinical study with 251 patients. This study consists of two groups using the EMS Swiss Dolorclast device and the other is with placebo treatment. Results of the study show that Dolorcast Device is safe and effective to use especially to patients with at with symptoms of proximal plantar fasciitis of at least 6 months duration.

We have highly skilled and experienced Physiotherapist, who can administer this therapy. Below is a shockwave therapy session with one of our Interim Physiotherapist, Rachel Kuan. She applies the therapy to treat the left shoulder pain of a patient.

If you are opting for radial shockwave therapy in Coquitlam, we can help you to attain its maximum benefits. You may also book for this service online, please click here.

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