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What are the benefits of shockwave therapy?

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

If you live in Northern Ireland and are suffering from musculoskeletal pain, joint problems, or injury, then shockwave therapy could be the treatment you've been looking for.

Shockwave therapy is an innovative form of treatment for pain, soft tissue injuries and even fracture healing.

If you've been suffering from painful muscles, have persistent joint problems or niggling sports injuries then shockwave therapy could benefit you.

Find out how shockwave therapy benefits you and can be an effective and proven alternative to pain medication or invasive surgery below.

Woman administering shockwave therapy

What is shockwave therapy?

Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) or Radial Shockwave Therapy (RSWT) is a non-invasive evidence-based medical treatment which uses highly focused acoustic waves to treat musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.

Shockwave therapy isn’t new.

It was originally developed as a non-invasive way to treat kidney issues and gallstones.

However, over the years, the medical community have proven it's beneficial in treating painful joints and musculoskeletal disorders like tendonitis, frozen shoulder, and plantar fasciitis.

It has become increasingly popular as an alternative to steroids or surgery.

There's minimal pain a quick recovery time and a really high success rate too!

How does shockwave therapy work?

Shockwave therapy works directly on the skin of the affected area and uses low-energy acoustic waves, rather than electrical waves.

After applying ultrasound gel to aid the transmission of the shockwaves, your therapist will move a handheld device over the area to be treated.

Shockwave therapy machine on a leg with gel

These pulses of energy painlessly penetrate the skin and radiate through the affected area stimulating blood flow and causing a small amount of inflammation.

Following treatment, your body will repair and regenerate cells to heal this inflammation and thus repair the original damage to reduce the associated issues and pain.

The sound waves will also help break down any scar tissue and therefore help improve your flexibility and mobility.

What are the benefits of shockwave therapy?

Evidence-based treatment

Shockwave therapy is an evidence-based form of treatment for physiotherapy that has been extensively studied and researched over the years.

Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated its effectiveness. These studies have shown that shockwave therapy can significantly reduce pain levels and improve function in patients with musculoskeletal conditions.

Shock wave therapy is also recognised by top orthopaedic hospitals and used by high-profile sports organisations such as the English Institute of Sport, UK Athletics, Welsh Rugby Union and many Premier League football clubs.

Studies also show that it has comparable outcomes to traditional treatments such as corticosteroid injections for chronic tendinopathy but without the risks associated with corticosteroids.


It can also reduce the need for surgery or medication as it provides a non-invasive way to treat painful musculoskeletal conditions. And because the process requires no anaesthesia or incisions, there is minimal risk of infection or complications from the therapy.

Faster healing

One of the key benefits of shockwave therapy is that, unlike surgery, there is no downtime or prolonged recovery period and most patients will be able to return to a full range of activities 24 hours after their session.

Shockwave therapy tool on a leg

Pain relief

Shockwave therapy has been found to be effective in reducing pain.

Long-lasting results

By targeting the underlying cause of the pain rather than just treating the symptoms, shockwave therapy provides long-lasting results for patients suffering from chronic pain conditions.

Whilst shockwave therapy is often used for new conditions and injuries there is a body of evidence to show that shockwaves can produce great results even with historic injuries.


Shockwave therapy is highly effective in providing pain relief when used by a qualified physiotherapist.

Benefits of shockwave therapy. All active pilates and Physio Lisburn

Treats a range of conditions

Common conditions that can benefit from Shockwave therapy include:

  • Achilles tendinopathy (painful tendon at the back of the foot)

  • Calcific tendinosis (where calcium deposits form around a tendon, commonly the rotator cuff, causing pain and loss of mobility)

  • Chronic tendinopathy (overuse and inflammation of tendons)

  • Iliotibial band syndrome - ITBS (pain stretching along the outside of the hip/outer thigh/knee caused by running and cycling)

  • Gluteal tendinopathy (hip pain)

  • Golfers elbow (pain on the inner side of the elbow)

  • Hamstring tendinopathies

  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)

  • Patellofemoral syndrome (runner’s knee) and patellar tendinopathy

  • Plantar fasciitis (pain on the underside of the foot)

  • Shoulder tendinopathy

  • Tennis elbow (pain on the outer side of the elbow)

Are there any instances where shockwave therapy shouldn't be used?

Shockwave therapy should not be used in pregnant women or individuals with a pacemaker.

It is also not recommended for patients with bleeding disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications.

Patients with open wounds or infections in the affected area should avoid shockwave therapy until the condition has healed.

Those with nerve damage or conditions affecting bone density, such as osteoporosis, may require alternative treatment options.

Additionally, shockwave therapy should only be performed by a trained and licensed healthcare professional to ensure proper technique and safety.

Shockwave therapy machine and treatment bed.

Can you get shockwave therapy on the NHS?

Yes, shockwave therapy can be accessed on the NHS depending upon your local Trust guidelines.

Shockwave therapy isn’t considered a first-line treatment option by the NHS but can be recommended when chronic symptoms persist for around 6 months. Or if symptoms haven’t responded to treatments such as pain relief or steroid injections.

Shockwave therapy treatments. Book now

Shockwave therapy at All Active Pilates & Physio in Northern Ireland

At All Active Pilates and Physio, we are experienced chartered physiotherapists who are approved providers of shockwave therapy.

We'll assess your condition to see if you are suitable for a course of shockwave therapy.

Get in touch to discuss how shockwave therapy could benefit you or book a treatment today.

Call us on 07719 176265 or email

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