Chiropractors do not use surgery or drugs to help their patients move freely and live without pain. Instead, chiropractic care revolves around stimulating the body’s own natural healing abilities. Trigger point therapy, manual therapy and dry needling are all techniques chiropractors commonly employ as part of their mission – but they are far from the only tools of their trade.
Softwave treatment is another such tool. Like so many other chiropractic modalities, it stimulates the body’s natural healing processes to relieve pain and accelerate recovery of injured soft tissues such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. But how exactly does softwave therapy work – and which conditions can it effectively treat?
How Does Softwave Treatment Work?
Softwave treatment relies on piezo technology. The word “piezo” comes from πίεση, the Greek word for pressure. When piezo crystals (typically quartz, tourmaline or barium titanate) are arranged in a mosaic pattern and briefly charged with a high-voltage current, they rapidly expand and contract by a few micrometers (a change in size which is invisible to the naked eye).
Electrical excitation of piezo crystals produces a miniscule softwave, or pulse. The frequency at which the crystals pulsate is easily controlled; so too are the directions in which the crystals emit their minute softwaves.
A softwave therapy applicator contains a piezo crystal matrix and the means to control its stimulation. When a chiropractor administers softwave treatment, they use the applicator to direct gentle, rapid softwaves in focused and/or linear directions throughout the patient’s damaged soft tissues.
Why Does Softwave Treatment Work?
The technology behind softwave treatment is indeed complicated, but you do not need a degree in physics to understand why it produces results. When tiny softwaves penetrate the skin and the underlying soft tissues, they produce several desirable effects:
- Stimulating increased blood flow, which helps the body supply injured tissues with nutrients that accelerate healing
- Stimulating natural production of growth hormones, which help the body repair and replace injured tissues
- Breakdown of calcium deposits, which commonly accumulate in muscles and tendons
How Is Softwave Treatment Administered?
Whether it is administered to accelerate healing of soft tissues following an injury or surgery, softwave treatment is a straightforward process. The patient lies down while the chiropractor or physical therapist uses the applicator and its attached computerized module to direct a rapid series of softwaves to their limbs or spine. The softwaves may be delivered across a broad area, toward specific pinpointed locations, or throughout the entire length of a tendon or group of muscle fibers.
Regardless of how it is administered, softwave treatment is normally painless. Some patients report minor discomfort, especially when their injuries are severe or located near a bone. Topical gel is typically applied to help minimize discomfort. Softwave treatment is also brief: a single session usually lasts between 15 and 20 minutes. It is normal for patients to undergo three to five treatments over the course of several weeks.
Complications arising from softwave treatment are exceedingly rare. Stress fractures are possible in patients who have osteoporosis, and patients who are recovering from extensive tissue damage may suffer further tearing of their soft tissues during treatment. A competent chiropractor would take extra care while treating such patients – or categorically decline to treat them with softwave therapy altogether.
Which Conditions Can Softwave Therapy Treat?
Softwave therapy is effective for treating a broad range of soft tissue conditions that commonly occur in the lower back, feet, wrists, shoulders, elbows, hip, knees and neck. These include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Lateral hip pain
- Elbow tendinopathy
- Patella tendinopathy
- Achilles’ tendinopathy
- Rotator cuff tendinopathy
Is Softwave Treatment Effective?
Softwave therapy isn’t becoming increasingly popular as a treatment for soft tissue injuries solely because it is safe and free of side effects. The outpatient therapy produces desirable effects in the vast majority of patients, who commonly report significant reduction in pain, improved functionality, and enhanced quality of life.
The doctors of Fargo Spine will not overlook any modality if it poses a real chance of helping our patients heal faster, move more freely, and live free from pain. That is why we currently offer softwave treatment at our clinic in Fargo, ND. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you achieve your best physical condition through the power of piezo technology, then we welcome you to schedule a consultation today!