A Complex Patient Case: ESWT Paired with Neurosurgery Delivers

August 11, 2021  |  By Elise Hamann

A Complex Patient Case - ESWT Paired with Neurosurgery Delivers (1)

More often than not, we speak of focused shock wave therapy, also known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT), as a non-invasive alternative to surgery, and in most cases, it is. However, there are times when a patient's condition is so complex that the need for surgical intervention becomes critical. Such is the case presented herein; discover what drove an internationally revered shock wave expert to recommend for neurosurgery consultation.

Renowned Scottish Osteopath and shock wave expert, Helen How, wrote an article about a complex patient case, "Finance: A Pain in the Neck, Innovative Neurosurgery, and Focus Shockwave Intervention Takes Severely Compromised Patient from Under A Life of Pain and Drug Therapy to the Road to Recovery". The article was recently published in The British Association of Sport & Exercise Medicine and demonstrates the value of shock wave in both the pre-op and post-op scenarios.


What Brought Extracorporeal Shock Wave Treatment (ESWT) and Neurosurgery Together?

A male patient, a professional who spends his working days glued to the computer screen, visited the How Clinic for evaluation. He had been experiencing neck pain and discomfort for some time, and it was increasing. Most troublesome was the fact that he was losing mobility in his left hand and arm. Add to that disrupted sleep patterns and worsening performance at work, this patient's quality of life had been dramatically impacted. While he had sought treatment elsewhere, he'd gotten nowhere.

In a last-ditch effort, he made the wise choice to visit pioneering shock wave specialist Helen How. It was quickly evident that the patient had developed a severe nerve entrapment condition. On top of that, Helen further recognized that his prolapsed discs contributed to the patients agonizing discomfort and compromised reflexes. 

While other practitioners had hoped to address this with conservative measures, Helen realized that more radical intervention was necessary. She turned to the expertise of a long lime associate and neurosurgeon.

In a rare collaboration, Helen and the surgical team worked in unison to change the patient's life forever. This included Helen treating the patient with focused shock wave therapy preoperatively to get the tissues into the best possible condition in preparation for required surgery.

Facing the Neurosurgical Risks?

The case presented extraordinary difficulties and risks, including the potential for paralysis. Conductivity testing revealed three discs required treatment; C5, C6, and C7, all of which carry a tremendous risk to the patient. 

Post-surgery, after sedation had worn off, it became clear that the patient's recovery would be a lengthy one. After four weeks of strictly enforced rest, the patient began a rehabilitation program involving more focused shock wave therapy that had proved effective in the pre-operative stages.

What did the clinical outcome reveal about the use of Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy?

After receiving focused shock wave treatment for an extended period post-surgically, the patient experienced impressive outcomes. He recovered the use of his left hand, arm, and shoulder. It’s well known that nerve dysfunction takes a long time to heal, but the patient was put on the path to full recovery.

Ultimately, after 18 months, the patient achieved notable functional outcomes, including full functionality in his peripheral nerves, and his strength and stamina also returned. The intervention postoperatively with focused shock wave accelerated recovery to reduce pain, increase mobility, and facilitated the healing until the patient regained full range of motion and reversed muscle weakness, atrophy and deficits.

Combining focused shock wave treatment, otherwise known as ESWT, with neurosurgery led to the impressive healing outcomes in this challenging case study. The patient won't be needing pain meds anymore and can now live a full life free from debilitating pain.

Considering How Shock Wave Could Enhance Your Practice and Patient Outcomes?

Shock wave therapy is backed by science and time and again has proven effective in treating many musculoskeletal disorders. Additionally, EPAT/ESWT is today's most innovative approach to treating acute and chronic tendinopathies.

Adding the right new technology to your continuum of care can accelerate practice growth and attract new patients to your practice. The upside for both patients and practice is undeniable.

Not sure where to begin? You'll want to read New Medical Technology: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy.

Interested in learning more about other dual treatments? If so, you'll want to watch this webinar, The Benefits of Combining Shock Wave and Manual Therapy.

Have questions about how adding EPAT/ESWT or EMTT to your continuum of care can be a game-changer for your practice? Contact us today, and we'll connect you with one of our shock wave experts.

Topics: EPAT, ESWT