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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 637450, 9 pages
Review Article

Shock Waves in the Treatment of Muscle Hypertonia and Dystonia

1Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, University of Genova, Largo Daneo 3, 16132 Genova, Italy
2Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University of Rome, Polo Pontino, Via Firenze, 04019 Terracina, Italy

Received 25 April 2014; Revised 30 July 2014; Accepted 14 August 2014; Published 17 September 2014

Academic Editor: Ruiping Xia

Copyright © 2014 Laura Mori et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since 1997, focused shock waves therapy (FSWT) has been reported to be useful in the treatment of muscle hypertonia and dystonia. More recently, also radial shock wave therapy (RSWT) has been successfully used to treat muscle hypertonia. The studies where FSWT and RSWT have been used to treat muscle hypertonia and dystonia are reviewed in this paper. The more consistent and long lasting results were obtained in the lower limb muscles of patients affected by cerebral palsy with both FSWT and RSWT and in the distal upper limb muscles of adult stroke patients using FSWT. The most probable mechanism of action is a direct effect of shock waves on muscle fibrosis and other nonreflex components of muscle hypertonia. However, we believe that up to now the biological effects of shock waves on muscle hypertonia and dystonia cannot be clearly separated from a placebo effect.