Shockwave Therapy vs Laser

By Unpain Clinic on May 31, 2023


Shockwave Therapy vs Laser

Shockwave therapy and laser therapy are two different modalities used in medical treatments. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between them:

1. Mechanism of Action:

– Shockwave Therapy: Shockwave therapy uses acoustic waves to deliver mechanical energy to the targeted tissues. This mechanical energy triggers a biological response known as mechanotransduction, where the mechanical energy is converted into biological stimulation. It influences tissue changes and stimulates a biological reaction without damaging cells.

– Laser Therapy: Laser therapy, on the other hand, utilizes light energy to interact with tissues. Light energy has various biological effects and can stimulate a biological response. However, it can also generate heat, potentially damaging cells if not appropriately used.

2. Biological Effects:

– Shockwave Therapy: Shockwave therapy primarily focuses on tissue repair and regeneration. It can break down scar tissues and adhesions while stimulating a biological response. It is known for promoting healing and regeneration without causing side effects.

– Laser Therapy: Laser therapy has a broader range of biological effects. It can provide pain relief, stimulate biological responses, and potentially heat and relax tissues. However, excessive heating during laser therapy can damage cells and tissues.

3. Application and Treatment Approach:

– Acute Cases: Laser therapy is often preferred for acute cases where the primary goal is pain relief and symptom management. It can quickly reduce pain and provide immediate relief.

– Chronic Pain: Shockwave therapy is more commonly used for chronic pain conditions. It helps relax muscles, penetrates deeper into tissues without generating heat, and stimulates tissue repair and regeneration. It is considered superior to lasers in muscle relaxation and deep tissue penetration.

4. Combination Therapy:

– Shockwave and laser therapy can be used together for some instances. Laser therapy can alleviate pain initially, followed by shockwave therapy for tissue repair and regeneration.

– It’s important to note that laser therapy usually requires multiple sessions to achieve tissue effects, while shockwave therapy can have noticeable effects in a single session.

In summary, shockwave therapy and laser therapy have different mechanisms of action and biological effects. Shockwave therapy focuses on tissue repair and regeneration without damaging cells, making it suitable for chronic pain conditions. Laser therapy provides pain relief and has broader biological effects but carries the risk of tissue damage if not adequately controlled. Both therapies can be used in combination depending on the specific treatment goals and the stage of the condition.


Author: Uran Berisha,

President, RMT, ISMST Certified Shockwave Therapist