Treating Pain with Sound WavesMar 01, 2023 06:00AM ● By Noah Chen
SoftWave technology used on a patient's shoulder and knee
Five years ago, Sarina Freedland felt that the treatment options for her severe arthritis in her hands and chronic pain were few and problematic. She could take cortisone injections, apply a cream or use painkillers.
Fortunately, a fully effective, long-lasting and noninvasive solution has existed for 40 years; it has only recently become more accessible to Americans. The treatment is done on a SoftWave device, an FDA-approved device that has demonstrated the ability to decrease joint pain, reduce inflammation, heal scar tissue and stimulate stem cell growth reliably and permanently.
Freedland was introduced to SoftWave by her chiropractor, Dr. Miriam Croft, owner of Hands On Wellness in Chamblee. Croft recommended the device for Freedland’s arthritis symptoms.
“My pain was really bad,” says Freedland. “I wasn’t even really able to hold a pen.” After a single session with the SoftWave device, Freedland felt a massive reduction in her pain. A few sessions later, she was writing with a pen again and feeling no discomfort.
How does SoftWave work?“The process is called ‘mechanotransduction,’” says Dr. Matt DiDuro, DC, who owns the Atlanta Pain Institute and who has North American distribution rights to the SoftWave device, which is made by the German company, MTS Medical UG. Mechanotransduction is the ability of the body’s cells to convert mechanical stimuli into specific intracellular changes. SoftWave provides mechanical stimuli in the form of sound waves.
“The sound waves that are coming every three to four microseconds are first compressing the cell and then expanding it by 10 percent,” DiDuro explains. This creates a chain reaction in the body that involves down-regulating inflammation and stimulating stem cells, which is key to how the device reduces pain and begins healing.
The sessions themselves take anywhere from one to three minutes and typically happen once or twice a week for six weeks. The total treatment cycle costs vary from $700 to $1,300.
“I’ll be honest; the treatments hurt,” said Freedland, who described vivid sensations of pain while undergoing treatment. However, the pain was temporary and only lasted while the device targeted damaged cells, she says.
Pain as Diagnostic
The pain acts as a built-in diagnostic. If there is no pain in an area the SoftWave is scanning over, then it is not healing anything. The more pain one feels, the greater the injury. Because of this feature, practitioners often know within a minute if the device will be effective on any given patient.
Following her treatments, Freedland reports the pain is entirely gone. While she still feels her arthritis—her hands are still occasionally stiff—she is fully able to write and use her hands as she did before her arthritis began. Freedland does still get treated on the device, mostly for neck and shoulder tightness, every few months.
Croft has been using the SoftWave device primarily to resolve joint pain stemming from arthritis and chronic and acute injuries. Her success rate, corroborated by her colleague, Dr. April Kerr of Elevation Chiropractic & Wellness in Clayton, is around 90 percent. They also use the device to break up scar tissue, typically following surgeries and cesarean sections.
There’s not a clear reason why the device doesn’t work on some people, but DiDuro has theories. “For those patients who do not have pain when we map out a chief area, the damage is either too far gone, they have severe nerve injury or they’re on such strong pain medication they can’t even feel when we scan over the bad areas.”
The device has been around for more than 10 years and is the third generation of a device that has been used since the 50s. Still, it has only been catching on in America for the past four or five years—ever since DiDuro received the distribution rights.
Before he was a distributor for SoftWave, DiDuro was a chiropractor, but when wrist surgery in 2007 left him in chronic pain and unable to practice his craft, he stopped practicing. After he underwent treatment on the device, his pain evaporated, and he knew he had to pursue distribution rights.
DiDuro sees a bright future for SoftWave. Fourteen professional sports teams, including the Atlanta Braves, have purchased a SoftWave device. And 20 practitioners in the Natural Awakenings Atlanta distribution area now utilize the SoftWave.
It is also being used for a greater variety of ailments. Because it increases blood flow to target areas, it has been used to treat erectile dysfunction, even in cases where other treatments, including Viagra, failed. It was even used to treat some people suffering from histamine storms brought on by COVID-19 by down-regulating the inflammation caused by the histamines. Soon, says, DiDuro, it might be used to repair spinal cords and fight Alzheimer’s, which is caused by inflammation of the brain. ❧
Miriam Croft, DC HOWChiropractic.com, AtlantaOrthoStem.com
Matthew DiDuro, DC ATLPainInstitute.com
Noah Chen is an Atlanta writer and journalist who writes for a wide variety of large companies and publications.