Gord Grant brings a complementary therapy or practice on to Global TV at 7:40AM the last Monday of every month. This month Gord introduces his followers to shockwave therapy, and Dr. Hassen Taha, a chiropractor who uses this technique.
I had heard of shockwave therapy some years ago — a technique which uses externally applied, focused, high-intensity acoustic pulses — being used for breaking up kidney stones into small pieces. Yet over the last few years several clients who have come to my clinic say they have had this technique for other things like tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, or frozen shoulder. When I looked it up, I found that although it is not yet really a mainstream technique, there is a growing body of evidence showing it can be highly effective for treating chronic injuries. It is said to accelerate tissue healing in chronic injuries, reduce pain, and restore normal function and activity.
In Edmonton, shockwave therapy is usually offered by physiotherapists, but other practitioners complementary to the medical system offer it too. I approached Dr. Hassen Taha, a north Edmonton chiropractor who uses shockwave therapy, and asked him if he could help me understand why and how he uses it. I chose his clinic since he seemed to have a particularly integrated approach. He has co-created a clinic with a medical doctor that offers everything under one roof. From primary medical services with doctors, to physiotherapy, massage, and of course chiropractic care too, patients can have the convenience of one stop shopping!
Dr. Taha explained that he uses shockwave therapy to help the body initiate the growth of new tissue after the initial healing response has given up and the tissue is degenerating. These are cases where a patient is seeing a painful problem get worse over time. For instance, with tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), tendons inserting onto the outside of the elbow are inflamed. Or with plantar fasciitis, the ligaments on the bottom of the foot that insert onto the heel are inflamed. Dr. Taha indicated that often with these types of injuries, if they go on for an extended time and become a chronic injury, the tendon or ligament at some point is not inflamed per se, but rather is degenerating and not healing. Shockwave energy applied with a hand-held device to the area of the injury can initiate regeneration of the degenerating tissue. Here, part of the theory of the shockwaves is that they cause micro-traumas that activate the body’s normal healing responses, help to control pain, and most importantly, promote the growth of new vessels and new tissue essential for regeneration.
Also, Dr. Taha explained that chronic inflammation also results in fibrosis and calcification. Fibrous scar tissue and bone-like deposits occur over time, and can make a tissue not only painful, but also brittle, inflexible, and not functional – this is the domain of heel spurs and frozen shoulder. Shockwave therapy may literally break up adhesions and calcification. Along with initiating the healing responses referred to earlier, shock wave therapy can make all the difference when nothing else has worked. Dr. Taha combines shock wave therapy with other techniques in the beginning to manage pain and initiate healing, and then later, patients are better able to take advantage of physiotherapy and exercises to speed the return back to normal function.
Read more about shockwave therapy on Dr. Taha’s website www.edmontonpainandinjury.com/shockwave-therapy or contact his clinic for a consultation:
9450 137th Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5E 6C2
Phone: (780) 760-2225