A 67 year old female attended the Mersea Road Clinic with chronic left shoulder pain and restriction for the past six years with no specific onset. The restriction was such that the patient could not reach higher than their own shoulder without pain, and that any form of carrying with the affected arm caused pain. The pain was also affecting the patient’s sleep as it was uncomfortable to lie on or to put any pressure on.
After examination the diagnoses was of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy, more specifically a calcification of the supraspinatus muscle. The practitioner decided that ESWT would be an appropriate treatment and so recommended this to the patient.
The treatment involves applying small impulses in to the affected area at a high frequency lasting around three minutes. This process is usually performed three to five times in one treatment session lasting approximately 20 minutes. What this does is creates an inflammatory response to allow the tissues to heal.
Three treatment sessions were applied to the patient and after each treatment session she would report mild pain where the ESWT had been applied, but this wore off after 24 hours to reveal the benefits. Following that they felt an improvement in pain and an increase in their range of motion. By the end of the course of treatment their shoulder had re-gained a full range of movement with very little pain. The patient was also able to carry more weight with the affected shoulder and became more confident in using it.
Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a safe, non-invasive treatment modality that we at the Mersea Road Clinic are able to offer to treat a variety of musculoskeletal problems. Research has shown that ESWT is effective in the treatment of such problems as plantar fasciitis up to rotator cuff tendinopathy.