Dr. Kevin Yip

Dr Kevin Yip
Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS(UK), FRCS(EDIN), FAM(SING), FHKCOS(ORTHO)

Featured on Channel NewsAsia

Pain relief via sound wave therapy – HealthBite – Mind your Body – Oct 14, 2010

Patients with injured hamstrings got greater pain relief from the therapy compared to those receiving conservative treatment

This could be good news for athletes. A therapy that aims to heal injured body tissue with targeted sound waves may bring pain relief to people with chronically injured hamstring tendons.

The small study was conducted with professional athletes to determine if shockwave therapy, which delivers pulses of sound waves to areas of injured body tissue via a hand-held probe placed on the skin, would be beneficial.

Shockwaves have also been studied, with positive results, as an alternative treatment for a range of orthopaedic and sports-related injuries, when more conservative therapies fail. These include heel pain caused by a condition called plantar fasciitis, as well as tennis elbow, Achilles tendon injuries, stress fractures and “frozen” shoulder.

In the new study, reported in the American Journal Of Sports Medicine, Italian researchers tested the effectiveness of shockwave therapy against chronic cases of proximal hamstring tendinopathy (PHT) in 40 professional athletes.
The injury affects the tendons connecting the hamstring muscles (at the back of the thigh) to the “sitting bones” of the pelvis. It typically causes pain at the top of the hamstring that radiates to the back of the knee, especially during physical activity or while sitting. In an MRI scan, the tendon is also visibly thickened.

All of the athletes in the current study had had recurrent pain and tenderness from PHT for at least six months. Researchers led by Dr. Angelo Cacchio, of the University of Rome, randomly assigned the patients to either four sessions of shockwave therapy over four weeks or a standard regimen of conservative therapy — consisting of rest, pain medication, physical therapy and strengthening and stretching exercises.

Three months after starting treatment, patients receiving shockwaves reported a greater improvement in pain symptoms, on average, than those on conservative therapy. Seventeen of 20 shockwave-therapy patients reported at least a 50-percent reduction in pain, versus only two of 20 in the comparison group.

Athletes in the shockwave group also reported fewer limits on their activity than their counterparts on conservative therapy.

Dr Cacchio told Reuters Health that the findings indicated that low-energy shockwave therapy can be safe and effective for chronic PHT. However, he said, larger studies are still needed to confirm these initial results.

If you would like to find out more about how shockwave therapy can benefit you and relieve you of your pain, give us a call at (+65) 9724 1219 (24 hrs).

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