Acoustic Wave Therapy

Full Function Chiropractic is proud to be one of the only musculoskeletal offices in Lycoming county to offer state-of-the art Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT).   Sometimes referred to as radial wave therapy, pressure wave therapy, or non-focused shockwave therapy, AWT is designed to treat chronic soft tissue injuries that were previously non-responsive to other forms of conservative care.

How It Works:

When the body has been injured for a long period of time (typically greater than 6 months duration), the underlying tissue becomes very tight, weak, fibrotic (think scar tissue), and non-responsive to traditional treatment methods.  For the body to know we have an injury, the body must sense that something is wrong (pain and inflammation) and respond by sending different chemicals to the area to begin healing.  As the injury becomes worse and worse, this response slows down until you reach a point of no return.  This is where AWT comes into play.

Therapy Handle

  The AWT machine uses a compressor to accelerate a “bullet” within the devices handle.  As the “bullet” oscillates back and forth, slamming into a diaphragm at the end of the device, it generates multiple pressure waves.  These pressure waves are then transferred, throughout a coupling gel, to the injured part of the body.  It is these pressures waves that essentially wake the body up.  As the waves bombard the injured tissue they create a low grade level of inflammation.  In response to this inflammation, the body creates new blood vessels (neovascularization) which can now carry healing factors to the site of injury.

Who Might Benefit From AWT:

  • Individuals with chronic soft tissue injuries (typically lasting more than 6 months)
  • Individuals with injuries that have been non-responsive to other forms of conservative treatment (e.g. chiropractic care, exercise, ice, physical therapy, NSAIDS, custom orthotics, etc.)
  • Those considering, or being recommended for, surgical consult

Some of the Conditions Treated:

Plantar Fasciitis

Elbow Pain (Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow)

Calcific Tendonitis of Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder


Shin Splints

Jumper’s Knee

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Elbow Treatment
AWT being applied to tennis elbow.

Benefits of AWT:


Minimal Side-Effects

Decreased Pain

Improved Mobility / Flexibility / Range of Motion

Improved Circulation

Short Treatment Times (typically 5-10 minutes/treatment)

Minimal Downtime

What the Research Says…

  • A 2019 meta-analysis found that treatment can improve symptoms, functional outcomes, and electrophysiologic parameters in patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • 2019 Aug;98(33):e16870. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016870.
  • A 2019 meta-analysis found [that while both] shockwave therapy and corticosteroid injections were effective and successful in relieving pain and improving self-reported function in the treatment of plantar fasciitis at 3 months, the VAS (pain) score was better improved in the shockwave group.

2019 Apr;139(4):529-536. doi: 10.1007/s00402-018-3071-1. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

  • A 2018 meta-analysis found that “therapy exerted a positive overall effect on pain and function for lower-limb tendinopathy.”

2018 Sep;97(9):605-619. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000925.

  • A 2011 study found that shockwave therapy was 85% effective at reducing hamstring pain, by at least 50% (at 3 month follow-up), while only 10% of patients utilizing NSAIDs, physiotherapy, and exercise saw similar relief.
  • 2011 Jan;39(1):146-53. doi: 10.1177/0363546510379324. Epub 2010 Sep 20.