Shockwave Therapy, Maybe The Best Option for Your Rotator Cuff

shockwave therapy to treat rotator cuff

ShockWave Therapy in the Treatment of Rotator Cuff

A rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. The muscle and tendons are tasked with keeping the upper bone of your arm within the shoulder socket. All these muscles are connected and originate from the scapula. When you have a shoulder injury on the rotator cuff, you are likely to experience a dull ache in the shoulder. The condition worsens when you try sleeping on the affected side. Shoulder ache is among the standard musculoskeletal complaints that stems from shoulder overuse. Although it commonly happens as a result of shoulder overuse, there are several other causes of rotator cuff injuries.

Causes and Symptoms of Rotator Cuff

Rotator cuff or shoulder injury commonly occurs gradually. However, that does not indicate that it cannot happen with a single traumatic injury. The pain on the shoulder is often experienced by people who do the same activity repeatedly in their sport or job. Events such as plastering, painting, weightlifting, swimming, and racquetball are likely to cause the tear and wear of the rotator cuff. It happens as a result of lifting and falling forcefully, which leads to rotator cuff tears. Another factor that can lead to rotator cuff injury is age. As time passes, the rotator cuff tendons become weaker, making it prone to injuries. Additionally, the blood supply to the tendons also diminishes as you continue aging. Although it’s likely to come with old age, rotator tear can as a result of comparatively mild trauma.

Symptoms of rotator cuff injury include tenderness and pain in the shoulder. This is often found when you try reaching your back, reaching overhead, pulling, lifting, loss of shoulder inclination motion, and shoulder weakness. It’s also possible to know that you have shoulder tendinitis when you sleep on the affected side. When you are rested, it is impossible to tell if you have this problem. Therefore, you must engage yourself in an activity for you to know if you have rotator cuff tears.

Background of Shockwave Technology

The use of shockwave technology as a sports injury treatment began in the early 80s. However, the shockwave treatment exercise on human body began on the way back in the 50s. Back then, studies showed that shockwave, when shot in water, can integrate ceramic. During the 60s and early 70s, the shockwave effects were tested on animals to learn about all the side effects of the treatment as the waves pass through soft tissues.

The experiment on animals showed the high side effects of the shockwave treatment were in abdominal organs, lungs, and brain. Therefore, the test resulted in a conclusion that, the best way to use shockwave as a sports injury treatment was through water. Additionally, shockwave treatment has been found effective in treating kidney stones and other internal organs.

As the technology continued to advance, the use of the shockwave machine began to be more popular. This lead to improving its features to accommodate various other treatments. In the 90s, the device found its way into orthopedic medicine. The new technology has also improved the design of the device to ensure it’s more durable and efficient.

Why it is Effective to Treat Rotator Cuff

There are numerous reasons why shockwave has been found to be more efficient than other forms of shoulder tendinitis treatment. One of the main reasons is that you will no longer have to take a pain killer as the issue will be resolved 90% of the time. It is, therefore, the most effective treatment in the market. In a study conducted by the University of Groningen, certain athletes experienced up to 50% decrease in pain only three weeks after the treatment. After four months of treatment, patients show increased functionality.

It is also a great form of treatment because it is noninvasive. As such, it can be done and allow the patient to go home on the same day. Unlike invasive treatments that require large incisions, which often take time to heal, a smaller incision means that you will have less scaring. If you are worried about not being able to wear certain clothes because of the procedure, this is excellent news. You also suffer less bleeding and experience less trauma. Unlike other treatments, your immune system is not taxed as much as. You can, therefore, heal faster because your body is still strong. If you dislike hospitals, you will be glad to know that shock wave treatment cuts your stay in these institutions by up to half.

Clinical Proof Shockwave Works

Shoulder calcific of the rotator cuff is a common problem in orthopedic and physiatric practices. They are located mostly in the supraspinatus tendon, which is close to the insertion area. Patients are often treated using analgesic drugs, a local pain killer, anti-inflammatory drugs, surgery (though rare), and physiotherapy. If the shoulder pain is severe, it can easily result in pharmacological overuse. However, shockwave therapy has been in use for the last 20 plus years, and it has proved to be as effective in treating shoulder tendinitis. Patients who depend on shock wave therapy as the pain treatment procedure for shoulder pain have demonstrated to have increased muscle strength, pain relief and increased range of motion. To ensure that the therapy works, the clinician ensures to have an X-ray performed on the patient before and after the treatment.

Can Shockwave Therapy Be Combined With Other Physiotherapy Techniques?

Numerous techniques can be used to treat shoulder pain. Physiotherapy is one such treatment. It is useful for patients with degeneration rotator cuffs. The exercises involved help to increase shoulder strength and flexibility after a rotator cuff injury. It is beneficial after shock wave treatment because it enables you to gain function in the shoulder faster. physiotherapy is great as it allows your shoulder to heal properly and increases circulation. At Pro Fusion Rehab, we have two well established physiotherapy clinic in Milton and Pickering, Ontario, both clinics are equipped with shockwave device and operated by licensed physiotherapist.


Avancini-Dobrović V, e. (2017). Radial extracorporeal shock wave therapy in the treatment of shoulder calcific tendinitis. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Available at:

Shockwave Therapy, Maybe The Best Option for Your Rotator Cuff