Category: Featured Articles

pressure wave therapy

Pressure Wave Therapy – How It Could Help You

Honestly…this is one of the most exciting new treatment offerings we’ve had in the many years I’ve been in practice. Only a handful of practioners in the state of Maryland are offering pressure wave therapy, despite the success of this non-invasive treatment. So here’s how I learned about pressure wave therapy and more details about this exciting new service available at Life Care Chiropractic and Wellness.

 

Why I’m Offering Pressure Wave Therapy

I came across this treatment technology at a national chiropractor meeting. I was very intrigued, as I had never heard of it before. At the meeting, I spoke to the representative from the company showcasing the technology, and learned that pressure wave is the same approach used to break up kidney stones.

As well, the representative shared the success they’d had in treating patients with plantar fasciitis – a condition impacting many of my patients. I saw that pressure wave could potentially break up the calcification and improve the blood flow, stimulating stem cells. That struck a chord with me…and I knew almost instantly that I wanted us to offer this treatment.

I went back to Maryland and did a bit of research, finding that first, only a few practices offered pressure wave in our state. After getting the equipment and receiving training on how to use it, I used pressure wave therapy on several people – including myself (I had a horrible foot pain). For the majority, the pain was completely resolved with just one treatment! It typically takes three to five treatments for resolution.

 

How it Pressure Waves Work

Radial pressure waves offer a treatment solution to long term/chronic tendon and soft tissue injuries that is completely non-invasive. No surgery, no injections, no pills. This treatment of the affected area will support and reset the healing pattern (even regenerating damaged tissue!). The process has been shown to improve chronic pain – even if the initial injury or pain condition began many, many years ago. Most patients feel a major reduction or a complete removal of pain.

Our therapist will apply shock waves through a specially designed hand piece that produces strong energy pulses for short periods of time. These high energy acoustic waves are transmitted through the surface of the skin directly to the affected tissue areas in a controlled procedure. Pressure waves have a mechanical effect on the tissue which stimulates the cells in the body which are responsible for healing. The micro trauma of the repeated pressure waves creates new blood flow to the area. It is the new blood flow that promotes tissue healing.

Pressure wave therapy produces an acute inflammatory process in the treated tissues. Your body responds by increasing the metabolic activity around the impacted area which in turn stimulates and accelerated the body’s own healing mechanisms.

RELATED: What You Can Do to Make Injuries Heal Faster

 

Success Stories with Pressure Wave Therapy

Many well-known clinics are using pressure wave therapy to treat a whole host of conditions – the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins University and Duke University are a few.

The data from research shows that the vast majority of patients with many pain conditions experienced improvement or even complete healing for their pain conditions. Some of the research results include:

  • 91% improvement for shoulder pain
  • 90% success rate for heal pain
  • 77% improvement for elbow pain
  • 76% success rate for achilles pain
  • 8 times more effective for hamstring pain than regular physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment

Other conditions where pressure wave therapy has been successful are: plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff pain, knee pain, foot pain, ankle pain, back pain, neck pain, hand pain and wrist pain. This therapy is continually being expanded to treatment for more areas of the body and more pain conditions.

 

The Cost-Effectiveness of This Treatment

Compared to many other treatment options, pressure wave therapy can not only be more effective, but less expensive in the long run.

First, there are no medication or surgical expenses. As well, for many other types of treatments, patients pay a $25-40 co-pay and could need as many as 20+ visits to complete their regimen. To compare, a typical plantar fasciitis patient would require physical therapy (PT) three times per week at a $25+ co-pay over months. This can add up to a lot of money quickly…and may still not yield pain relief.

With pressure wave therapy, less treatments are needed. We are packaging our treatment plans to make it easy and inexpensive for you to take advantage of this treatment:

$300 for three sessions

Fourth and fifth session for $50 each

It typically takes three to five sessions (10-15 minutes/session), and this will be our pricing starting in January.

As an introduction for my patients, I’m offering  discounted pricing from now through the end of the year:

$200 for three sessions

Fourth and fifth sessions for $25 each

Again, most patients will require three to five sessions.

So I’m hoping that many of you will consider this treatment option – and spread the word to your friends of family member suffering from one of the pain conditions we believe can improve with pressure wave therapy. For me, it’s one of the most optimistic treatment options I’ve come across in a long time. I am thrilled to offer it – and excited to start helping folks live with less pain or become completely pain-free!

 

Dr. Sharman

heat stroke

Taking it Seriously…and Preventing Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is something most folks have heard of…but may think is not a risk for themselves. But with the summer months and heat index in full swing, it’s something everyone should know about.

We tend to think of serious athletes – marathon runners, for example – or maybe even people who work in landscaping or farming as being the kind of people susceptible to heat stroke. The reality is that the average person, in the right conditions, could suffer from heat stroke.

 

So what causes heat stroke?

Heat stroke occurs when your body can no longer regulate your core temperature. When you become overheated, those natural processes can fail and your body can’t cool itself. This is due to high temperatures, excessive physical activity or a combination of both.

Biologically, our bodies release heat by sweating. First, our blood vessels begin to swell, or dilate, causing our skin to look red. Blood then flows close to the surface of our skin so that we transfer heat from our skin into the air. As well, our muscles cause our body hair to lay down flat to further increase heat loss. Then our glands secrete sweat onto our skin in order to increase heat loss by evaporation. This process continues until our body temps return to normal.

But in heat stroke, we sweat so much that we become dehydrated. When our bodies run out of fluids to sweat and we haven’t been drinking enough water to supply more fluids, our body temperature will continue to rise. At that point, heat stroke symptoms kick in.

 

Symptoms

It’s really important to be aware of the signs of heat stroke so if you are outside in the heat and are struggling to cool down, you can get the help you need. Heat stroke typically has a few warning symptoms to let you know it’s coming. Be aware if you begin to experience any of these:

  • Fainting – also known as heat syncope occurs when your blood vessels dilate so much that it reduces blood flow to your brain. You may not completely pass out but feel dizzy, light-headed and even nauseous.
  • Muscle cramps – may occur even if you aren’t doing anything strenuous. This is also a warning sign of dehydration.
  • Heat exhaustion – is simply feeling ill from the heat…nauseous, weak, head aching, clammy and even like you may throw up. Your skin may actually become dry, due to lack of fluid for sweating. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can easily advance to heat stroke.

Full-on heat stroke is a serious medical emergency. It can lead to brain damage, organ failure and even death, if untreated. Aside from the warning signs previously mentioned, sufferers of heat stroke may experience confusion/delirium. Their urine turns a dark-brown color. They may have a seizure. They may have shallow breathing.

 

Prevention

The obvious solution, once you start experiencing the warning symptoms, is to get out of the heat. As well, you’ll need to get access to water quickly. Before you begin any activities outdoors, you should know if you have any risk factors that make you more prone to heat stroke.

But in general, heat stroke is preventable…in many very commonsense ways.

For starters, drink plenty of water – not just during your activity but the day before. Hydrating your body well in advance is half the battle. You can also eat more hydrating foods, such as watermelon, tomatoes, and avocados as a means of getting more water into your body. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they have a tendency to dehydrate the body.

If you can avoid direct sunlight, you should. Limit your outdoor time on particularly hot days to the hours when the sun is less severe. Get into the shade to take breaks from the sun and heat. Use an umbrella for protection. And make sure the clothing you wear is lightweight but can provide some protection from the bright sun.

Know your medications. Some medications may affect your ability to deal with higher temperatures. Antibiotics are one such example. So are antidepressants, antipsychotics, antihistamines, laxatives, diuretics and medications for heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol and seizures. Talk to your physician if you take any of these medications and learn what your risks may be.

Get cool. On some days, you will just need to avoid the heat altogether and stay indoors with good air conditioning (fans may not be enough). If you must be outdoors, take breaks and get into an air-conditioned space to allow your body time to cool down. You may even want to take a quick, cool shower or get cool cloths and apply them to your neck during your breaks.

RELATED: Is the Farmers’ Market Really That Good for You?

 

Final thoughts

Please watch out for others in your life – especially the elderly – who may be susceptible to heat stroke. If you’re with someone who is displaying heat stroke symptoms, call 911 immediately. Then move the person to a cool place, apply cool compresses and wait for the medical professionals to arrive.

Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency. Immediate treatment is vital. So be aware this summer for your own sake and for those you love.

Dr. Sharman