Too often, runners feel they have no other choice than to just “run through their pain.” In fact, that sentiment is true of many athletes who struggle with acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain such as foot and heel discomfort.
That’s why Dr. Peter Bellezza, of the Bristol Hospital Multi-Specialty Group and Bristol Hospital's Center for Orthopedic and Spine Health located in Bristol, Connecticut, is committed to helping active patients discover a better way; one that helps them get back to doing what they love without surgery or downtime. In this FOX61 news segment, Dr. Bellezza discusses his successful use of non-invasive EPAT.
It’s called EPAT -- that stands for Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology. It's been around for awhile, but it's being used to treat more medical conditions than ever.
DR. BELLEZZA: People that have chronic injuries, they're not going to stop. So you know, we typically find these patients at road races because runners are a pretty determined to run through pain.
In order to get the word out about the EPAT device, Bristol hospital brings it right to prospective patients, like at the Bristol half marathon last month.
DR. BELLEZZA: It only took one and then a whole bunch of them lined up. Then the most common thing is, ‘I've never felt anything like this before and this feels really good.’
Dr Peter Bellezza said runners and athletes love it because, in the right circumstance, it can thump away years of wear and tear.
DR. BELLEZZA: And people that come in are patients that have had chronic pain for three to four years and it still hasn't gotten better.
[EPAT is] used primarily in the feet and ankles, but can help in other joints and the lower back; places where tendons and ligaments thicken from injuries and years of inflammation.
DR. BELLEZZA: Once they get torn or degenerated, they don't really repair themselves that well compared to breaking a bone or tearing a muscle where there's rich blood supply and it ends up pretty quickly
But the EPAT uses strong pressure waves to break up that tissue, and there's no doubt when it's happening.
DR. BELLEZZA: It's kind of similar to a jackhammer. The sound waves can be pretty aggressive and you can actually feel it deep down in your bone.
Dr. Bellezza says there is some immediate, albeit temporary pain relief. The lasting relief tends to come though about six to 12 weeks after treatment. As for the sessions, Dr. Bellezza says that a five to 10 minute treatment once a week for three to five weeks is often all it takes -- if you can afford it.
DR. BELLEZZA: It's FDA-approved here in the United States, but it's still not covered by insurance companies.
He said EPAT sessions can cost $700 to $1000 dollars apiece, but he does what he can to make it more affordable.
DR. BELLEZZA: We’re giving the sessions for $100 apiece, so $500 bucks. And that's just more or less because it's the technology that I believe in. I want more people to have access to it.
More About EPAT
Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT), also referred to as ESWT or shock wave, is clinically proven — it is today’s most advanced, non-invasive technology for treating pain.
If you’re considering integrating EPAT into your practice to improve patient outcomes, contact us today. Or, if you want to start with a deep dive into the science and physics behind this technology, download our white paper, The Art of Shock Wave.