Shockwave Therapy Edmonton

Shockwave Therapy in Edmonton – Every patient is unique, and no two approaches to treating a condition should be exactly the same. At Unpain Clinic, we begin with a thorough analysis of what brought you to where you are today, to identify the underlying causes.

Patients are usually surprised with the treatment plan we present, because it goes beyond treating the symptoms: we go after the root causes. Often the results extend far beyond the pain that led them to our clinic.

We use a range of modalities, sometimes in combination, to achieve the targeted results, applying the regenerative capabilities of acoustic wave technologies and our therapists’ deep understanding of human physiology.


What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave Therapy Edmonton are sound waves that reach deep into the tissue, and can immediately provide pain relief and mobility restoration while stimulating regenerative healing at the cellular level.

An extracorporeal shockwave is a true shockwave, in physical terms. Initially used for breaking up kidney stones (lithotripsy), extracorporeal shockwaves were noted to increase the density of nearby bones without harming any healthy tissues around them. Through research, it was discovered that the shockwaves could stimulate stem cell growth and trigger a healing response in many different applications.

Extracorporeal shockwaves travel up to 12.5cm deep into the body with no loss of energy and have been observed to penetrate tissues up to 20cm deep with some energy loss. As a result of the accuracy, depth and low impact at application, extracorporeal shockwave therapy is excellent for the treatment of chronic tendinopathies, complex pain, open wounds and bone fractures.

While a Radial Pressure Wave is created through mechanical forces, True Shockwaves™ are created using either a electrohydraulic, piezo-electric and/or electromagnetic wave generator in combination with specially formulated liquids. Because of how the wave is produced, it travels much deeper into tissue with greater precision, less energy loss and less pain.

Shockwave therapy vs. radial wave therapy – what’s the difference?

Radial pressure waves are generated by kinetic pressure (usually created by the impact of a metal bullet driven by a compressor with a metal treatment head). The contact of the two metals creates a sound wave but the effect of this type of wave is very superficial – usually felt more at the level of the skin. As the radial pressure goes deeper the energy diminishes.  Most radial treatments can penetrate about 3-4 cm deep and are effective for treating surface level adhesions and fascial restrictions. Many clinics reporting that they treat using shock waves are using this type of device.

Shockwave Therapy Edmonton

True (or focal) shockwaves can penetrate a lot deeper and the effects are felt at the level of the target tissue and not on the skin.  The effect on the skin is minimal and the shockwaves will increase in energy intensity to the focal point and then diminish beyond that. Shockwave can penetrate as deep as 12 cm and is primarily for cellular regeneration.

How shockwave therapy works

Shockwaves work through the process of mechanotransduction. This happens when a mechanical stimulus is converted into a cellular response to a variety of mechanical loads. Mechanical energy is transferred to the cells setting off a cascade of events inside the cells which with some time, leads to a final clinical outcome.

What does shockwave do in the body?

Some of the biological responses related to shockwave include:

  • Pain relief
  • Increased and improved cell metabolism
  • Substance P release –a neuropeptide that triggers the inflammatory response but also plays an important role in cell division and wound repair.
  • Growth factor release  – important for cell proliferation and wound healing
  • Stem cell activation and attraction to the target areas of treatment
  • Unmyelinated nerve decrease – most unmyelinated nerves carry pain signals
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – come from opening lymph nodes, removing scar tissue and adhesions in fascia, improving local blood circulation
  • Nitric oxide release –a vasodilator that allows for improved blood flow locally
  • Angiogenesis – process where new blood vessels are grown (typically happens around 4-6 weeks after treatment and can produce 200-300% more regional blood circulation).

These biological processes lead to regeneration and repair in tissues such as skin, tendon, muscle and bone. Radial pressure wave therapy is capable of producing some of these same effects but at a much more superficial and less intense level than focal shockwave therapy.

How do I know if shockwave will help me? How effective is shockwave?

How do we know if any kind of treatment will be helpful? Every human and the conditions they seek care for are different. We can’t promise any results, but there is a large body of scientific literature that confirms the effectiveness of shockwave therapy for a number of conditions. In general at the Unpain Clinic we have found from clinical experience that most people report some type of positive result in two treatments and acceptable resolution within 3-5 visits.

One thing to be cognizant of, is that healing proceeds as fast as your body can make it go but might be slower in older individuals, people who have comorbid health conditions (diabetes for example) or people whose lifestyle is less healthy than others. This doesn’t necessarily mean that shockwave therapy cannot be helpful for these patients, it simply means that more treatments, lifestyle changes or co-management with other healthcare providers might be needed to achieve better results.

What conditions can be treated with shockwave therapy in Edmonton/ what can shockwave therapy be used for?

New research is always emerging and this list is not exhaustive, but some of the conditions we have experience treating at the Unpain Clinic include:

  • Sport related injuries
  • Achilles Tendonopathy
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Retrocalcaneal Bursitis
  • Lateral Epicondylosis (Tennis Elbow)
  • Medial Epicondylosis (Golfer’s Elbow)
  • Calcific Tendonitis (supraspinatus tendon, etc.)
  • Rotator cuff injury and frozen shoulder
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (lateral hip pain)
  • Patellar Tendinosis (Jumper’s Knee)
  • Shin splints
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Hamstring injury
  • Muscle tears, strains
  • Ligament injuries and sprains
  • Chronic non-specific low back pain
  • Myofascial pain and adhesions related to old injury or surgery
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Muscle spasticity related to stroke, cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis*
  • Osteoarthritis symptoms*

*Shockwave will not change the underlying condition, but can be used to help relieve pain and improve functionality in patients with some of these conditions

Who is a good candidate for shockwave therapy?

Almost anyone could be a good candidate for shockwave therapy. The best way to know if you are is to contact us to book an assessment. After an assessment we can tell you more about whether shockwave is appropriate for you and your condition and what prognosis we might expect from treatment. We will also let you know if shockwave is not right for you and offer advice about what options might be better.

When is shockwave therapy not appropriate?

Even though shockwave generally has a good safety profile and limited evidence of negative side effects, there are still some times when we don’t want to use shockwave, some of these instances include:

  • If you are pregnant (this is not a total contraindication if the treatment area is something like a foot or shoulder, however, so much changes during pregnancy that it is often easier to wait until after delivery to treat).
  • If you have a blood clotting disorder (including thrombosis or DVT)
  • If you have received a steroid (cortisone) injection within 6 weeks at the treatment site
  • If tumours are present at the treatment site (having cancer itself is not a total contraindication to treatment depending on the treatment area)
  • If you have an infection at the treatment site

There may be other reasons for avoiding shockwave treatment entirely or in certain areas and your therapist will always assess you and let you know if you aren’t a good candidate for shockwave therapy.

Shockwave therapy costs

At the Unpain clinic shockwave costs are:

  • $300 – Includes your initial assessment fee and first treatment cost (usually about 45-60 minutes in length).
  • $250 – subsequent visits (range between 30-45 minutes in length depending on the area(s) to be treated and the discretion of the treating therapist).
  • $105 – Consultation only (for cases where no treatment is safe/possible – in these cases your healthcare professional will advise you of alternative care options, if any).

I heard Unpain Clinic has this other thing called Flashwave – What is Flashwave Therapy?

Flashwave® is a new, non-invasive regenerative therapy which uses sound waves to stimulate activation of endogenous stem cells through a Cellular Communication Interface® (CCI®). Flashwaves are shockwaves that are 10x more powerful (in Joules/shock) and indicated for more complex conditions than other extracorporeal shockwave devices on the market (to date).

Frequently asked questions (FAQs):

Is shockwave therapy suitable for everyone?

No, but it can be helpful for many people. The best way to know if it’s right for you is to book an assessment with a qualified healthcare provider who knows and works with this modality. They will be able to tell you about the risks and benefits of treatment and whether it is right for you and your condition.

Is shockwave therapy painful?

Sometimes, but it isn’t usually intense or severe. Any discomfort is usually mild to moderate at worst.  We have found that most discomfort occurs when we work in areas with less padding, but your brain tends to dull the painful sensation after a few seconds. Your healthcare provider will always try to work to your tolerance and feedback to minimize any discomfort.

How long does it take to recover after shockwave therapy? 

That depends. Some people have no recovery or down time and some people may experience a mild aggravation of their symptoms for hours or days. Generally, at Unpain Clinic, we find people have more positive than negative experiences after shockwave therapy, but there are always outliers. We generally encourage you to continue your normal routine if you feel good and to continue as normally as possible with a bit more rest and self care if you experience post-treatment soreness.

Some patients will report feeling a little “off balance” or might notice discomfort in new areas in the days following care. This is the result of imbalances being corrected and the feeling will improve as the kinetic chain rebalances and the treatment protocol is completed

How does shockwave therapy work?

Very simply, shockwave therapy uses soundwaves to create cellular mechanotransduction resulting in a change in cellular health and more broadly, changes in a patient’s global health, pain and function.

What is the success rate for shockwave therapy for ED?

It depends. There are a variety of reasons men can suffer from ED. A visit to your urologist is a good place to start to help determine the cause of your erectile dysfunction.

If ED is a result of blockages in blood vessels within the penis or the result of a nerve impingement in the lower back or pelvic region we have had reasonably good success restoring erectile ability[h1] .*

We don’t treat patients with severed nerves, extreme nerve damage due to disease or trauma, or with ED related to psychological conditions.  

How can I schedule a shockwave therapy visit in Edmonton?

If you want to book with us at the Unpain Clinic, you can call us at (587) 400-8666 or book online using our website.

We have two convenient locations where you can get shockwave therapy in Edmonton Alberta:

  • Unpain Summerside  located at  #313, 1524 91 Street
  • The Unpain Clinic at Derrick Golf and Winter Club at 3500 119 Street NW.

What conditions is shockwave therapy used for?

Short answer: a lot.  Check out our website to learn more about the things we can treat.

Are there any side effects or complications?

The most common side effects are temporary symptom aggravation or discomfort that can last hours to days and temporary redness or pinkness of the skin in treatment areas. Other side effects are possible, but tend to be more rare.  Your healthcare provider will let you know if they anticipate other side effects and will screen out patients who may not be appropriate candidates for shockwave.

How do we approach shockwave therapy at the Unpain Clinic?

The research evidence varies greatly with respect to which application strategies are best for which areas of the body, but by combining research with clinical experience, at the Unpain Clinic we have developed basic protocols for treating most conditions and body areas safely and effectively.

Your clinician will always assess you and suggest the safest and best treatment plan for you, but generally we have found that most people respond well to 3-5 sessions of care spaced about 1 week apart. We recognize that shockwave is a cell regeneration treatment and part of care is giving your body time to perform this regeneration. After your last session we usually suggest a period of 4-6 weeks without treatment with at least one follow-up visit where the need for further care will be discussed.

Still have questions about shockwave?
We offer free, 15 minute, no-obligation telehealth consultations. 

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