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Montecito Chiropractor Offering In-Office Shockwave Therapy Solution for Pain

Patients with chronic and acute pain previously needed surgery and anesthesia for treatment

The sensation could only be described as that of a toothache, a dull pain targeted atop a worse ache that seemingly wouldn’t recede.

Dan Gunther of Montecito tried his best on a recent afternoon to explain the logistics of shockwave therapy — also known as acoustic compression therapy — and why he has chosen to employ it on the thigh muscle he pulled recently while working out.

Until recently, the still relatively new treatment option in orthopedic and rehabilitation medicine could be performed only at a surgery center under anesthesia.

Now with an in-office procedure, patients are able to attempt quelling chronic and acute musculoskeletal pain using technology that essentially sends shockwaves to cause micro trauma, which is then repaired by healing cells responding to defend against inflammation.

On Gunther’s end, choosing shockwave therapy means convenience and trading constant pain for more miniscule, intentional pain that lasts about 10 minutes during six to seven total appointments.

Bissell Chiropractic Sports Medicine in Montecito is one of just two local offices offering the treatment. The other is the Laser Rehab Institute of Santa Barbara.

“I’ve had a lot of problems with tendonitis,” Gunther said. “This goes right to the source.”

Gunther is among a rare breed that had heard of — and actually underwent — shockwave therapy about 10 years ago. He swears the treatments cured his tennis elbow, with results felt a few months following treatment.

At least 30 locals have already taken advantage of the treatments that have been offered in Montecito since earlier this year.

Dr. Charles Bissell recommends patients aim for at least a five or six on the pain scale of 1-10 when getting the treatment, which involves moving a PiezoWave2 soft applicator and ultrasound gel over the affected area while controlling the intensity and depth of waves.

So far the local success rate has been about 70 percent, he said.

“The more you can endure, the faster you’ll get there,” Bissell said of upping the level of pain. “It creates new blood flow. But it’s not magic. It doesn’t work on everybody.”

Having the treatment in an office rather than a surgery center saves on cost as well as hassle, although the in-office version can take up to seven sessions to see lasting results instead of the one or two in surgery centers.

Gunther said he’s hoping for positive therapy results, but he stopped short of recommending the treatment to others who might not experience the same positive results he has seen in the past.

“I’m very optimistic,” he said, noting time — and more toothache-like pain — would tell.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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