Vale Health Clinic

Shockwave Therapy as a Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

Using low-intensity shockwave therapy has recently been adopted by a variety of medical practitioners as a safe and effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, ED for short. The treatment doesn’t work in all cases because there are a host of underlying conditions that can cause erectile problems. Shockwave therapy works best for younger patients and those who have recently developed the condition. Low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy, LI-ESWT for short, can restore the erectile mechanism and enable natural and spontaneous erections, an advantage that other treatments seldom achieve.

How LI-ESWT Works

The evidence shows that low-intensity shock waves almost never produce negative complications or side effects. Clinical double-blind studies show that LI-ESWT treatments generate marked improvement in penile hemodynamics for men suffering from vasculogenic ED. [1] The causes of ED include the following conditions and medical disorders:

  • Clogged blood vessels
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Side effects of drugs and medication interactions
  • Other specific medical conditions and injuries

Vasculogenic ED is a condition that affects many million men, but giving precise figures fails because some suffer from a total inability to achieve an erection, some have only sporadic erections and others have difficulty in maintaining an erection. [2] Regardless of cause, the rate of cases has tripled in recent years, but all of these instances might only reflect under-reporting of the issue in the past. The introduction of the drug sildenafil citrate, branded under the name Viagra, in 1998 also is responsible for greater reporting of the condition.

LI-ESWT offers a long-term treatment option for many men that’s free of dangerous side effects and highly priced medications. LI-ESWT has been used for its angiogenic properties, which are the abilities to create capillaries from existing blood vessels. The shockwave treatment triggers an anti-inflammatory response that’s used in treatment of non-union fractures, bursitis, tendonitis and other orthopaedic treatments. The treatment helps to regenerate tissue in the musculoskeletal system that controls physical erections by rebuilding blood capillaries and increasing blood flow.

Shock waves are longitudinal acoustic sound waves that generate microtrauma effects. The sound is composed of a short pulse, a rapid increase to maximise pressure and create a shock and a long period of negative pressure. The shock triggers the collapse of cavitation bubbles, and the body responds by triggering repairs using physiological compounds and processes to repair the system. These repairs include the underlying structure of your body’s mechanisms to get and keep an erection.

Types of Healthcare Providers that Are Adopting LI-ESWT Treatment of ED

More and more healthcare professionals are using the LI-ESWT treatments in various ways. The multi-disciplinary treatment, which remains unregulated by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, General Medical Council and Food and Drug Administration in the United States, can be adopted by any medical practitioner as an alternative therapy in treating ED.

Healthcare providers have done so in the fields of urology, chiropractic medicine, podiatry, osteopathy, sports medicine, aesthetic treatments, veterinary medicine, physiotherapy and orthopaedics. It’s a great fit for chiropractic practitioners who focus on restoring the body’s physical functions and relieving the cause of pain, both physical and mental.

An Introduction to Treating ED with Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is safe and effective for many patients as demonstrated by a wealth of anecdotal and clinical evidence, despite the glacial pace of getting an endorsement from official channels. The therapy works best in mild-to-moderate cases of vasculogenic ED that’s not triggered by cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The therapy is not indicated for ED caused by severe physical injuries.

The treatment professional may use a conducting gel spread over the penis and connection area. Anaesthetics are sometimes used, but it is generally unnecessary because the treatments generate a slight tingling sensation as the only effect of treatment. A mobile probe is used to apply the shocks in a predetermined number of shocks. Sessions can last up to 15 or 20 minutes. Repeat treatments are options for those who don’t achieve a full erection from the initial treatment.

The energy from shock wave therapy stimulates new blood vessel growth through a process called angiogenesis. This can also increase penile blood flow for stronger and longer lasting erections. Li-ESWT also stimulates production of nitric acid, which plays a part in nerve regeneration. The treatment also accelerates the cleaning away of organic debris and reduces instances of neuronal scarring. The technique can also strengthen Schwann cell production, which makes the treatment of erectile dysfunction caused by neuropathic aetiologies promising.

After treatment, pain and complications rarely occur, but your healthcare professional can recommend over-the-counter medications for pain based on your medical history and other prescribed medications. It’s possible to return to regular activities the same day or a day later. There are no restrictions on driving or operating a motor vehicle. Your treatment professional might recommend restrictions on certain activities based on your health.

Most patients return to work the day after treatment. If you do have an abnormal reaction of pain, discuss the issue with your healthcare professional. You should have no problem returning to work, resuming normal activities or engaging in sexual relations.

Rates of Successful ED Treatment Using Li-ESWT

Successful treatment most often occurs among younger patients with vasculogenic ED, which is caused by physical restrictions of blood flow to the penis caused by systemic or partial blockages. Nerve and blood vessel repairs are more successful for young men with stronger physical constitutions. The problems are more easily repaired when the damage hasn’t been of long standing. The cost is relatively affordable when compared to other treatment technologies, so many patients determine that the risks are well worth the minimal cost and effort. You can effectively try the treatment for most forms of ED.

Patients also have higher success rates for shockwave treatment when the duration of their ED is shorter, when they don’t smoke and when they don’t have high blood pressure, obesity, hyperlipidaemia or diabetes. Most patients report positive results from treatment in 30-month follow-up interviews. Patients also get better results after being educated about lifestyle factors that could aggravate ED. This is especially true for patients who have ED complicated by diabetic and neuropathic factors.

Corroborating Evidence

There is a wealth of supportive evidence on the effectiveness of Li-ESWT treatment. One meta-analysis covered seven databases and found that the shockwave treatment was extremely effective treating various kinds of ED, who averaged a high percentage improvement of their IIEF-EF score. [1] These scores rank patients based on the degree of their erectile dysfunction on a scale of 25. A score of 25 means no type of erectile dysfunction.

Similar results were found in a peer-reviewed meta analysis conducted by Sokolakis and Hatzichristodoulou. Data collected from five databases found dramatically increased IIEF-EF and EHS scores of those ED patients who received Li-ESWT treatment from January of 2010 to September of 2018.

Comparing Chiropractic ED Treatments to Other Therapies

Blue pills don’t work for everyone. Some people can’t get legal prescriptions because of other health issues. Viagra provides a hit-or-miss chance that only lasts as long as the incredibly expensive medication does. Viagra is no panacea because of the expense and the fact that they don’t work for everyone. Li-ESWT can provide a long-term solution that works at a low cost, and affordable chiropractic care makes sense for getting your shockwave treatment.

Getting your treatment from a chiropractic care provider makes sense for many reasons. You get the safety and care of medical professionals at a more affordable price than specialists like urologists. About 40 percent of men will experience erectile dysfunction, and as they age, the percentage increases. Chiropractic care has long been at the forefront of treating erectile dysfunction, and multiple medical studies prove that chiropractic care can be safe and effective ways of relieving the symptoms of ED.

Erectile dysfunction can be a singular condition, but it also can be caused by a multitude of medical issues that include diabetes, neuropathy, hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, sleep disorders, alcoholism, medicine interactions, multiple sclerosis and smoking. Inflammation is always at the root of cases of ED, and chiropractic focuses on relieving the pain and symptoms of inflammatory conditions. Misalignment of the spine often contributes to ED, and psychological issues can always exacerbate the condition.

Chiropractic attempts to correct the root causes of all nervous system dysfunctions, and the techniques that chiropractors use often improve your particular situation. When combined with Li-ESWT therapy, the one-two punch often relieves ED and any associated psychologically induced impotence. That makes chiropractic treatment your option for treating and managing ED.

Shockwave Therapy Shows Promise in Treating ED Related to Cardiovascular Disorders

Li-ESWT therapy shows promise in treating cardiovascular-related ED. Nishida and colleagues funded a 2004 study that applied LI-ESWT therapy to 28 domestic pigs with induced myocardial dysfunctions. The study found that the shockwave therapy increased myocardial blood flow rates and fostered complete recovery of the faction with left ventricular ejection. No complications from the therapy were observed. Although treating the heart with shockwave therapy is beyond the scope of this article, it’s an interesting fact for further research.

LI-ESWT for cardiac disease

The effect of LI-ESWT on the myocardium has also been intensively studied in recent years. In a porcine model of ischemia-induced myocardial dysfunction, Nishida and colleagues [Nishida et al. 2004] applied LI-ESWT to chronic ischemic hearts of 28 domestic pigs. They found that LI-ESWT improved regional myocardial blood flow and the wall thickening fraction, and even brought about complete recovery of the left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction. In contrast, sustained myocardial dysfunction was found in the pigs which did not receive LI-ESWT. No complications, including arrhythmias, were observed during or after the treatment. In another study in pigs with an acute myocardial infarction, Uwatoku and colleagues [Uwatoku et al. 2007] demonstrated that LI-ESWT has a positive effect on LV remodelling. Finally, Ito

Concluding Thoughts of Shockwave Therapy for ED

Shockwave therapy is administered by a Class I medical device, which doesn’t require medical licensing or professional standards of behaviour. However, getting your treatment from a qualified healthcare professional provides protection in other ways, and a qualified chiropractor has a reputation to consider.

Getting your Li-ESWT treatment at Tunbridge Wells Chiropractic makes a sound decision because chiropractic is focused on maximising your bodily functions with a hands-on approach. The team may be able to reinforce treatment with other proven chiropractic manipulations and processes to reinforce and strengthen your results.

Keep in mind that research is still ongoing, but more than a decade of anecdotal evidence supports the positive and affordable results that this therapy can achieve for many suffering from erectile dysfunction. As a relatively new treatment, Li-ESWT doesn’t qualify for insurance cover, but that could change as the therapy becomes more popular and clinical research catches up with solid treatment trends.


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