Based on his burly build, Dr. David W. Nadler would fit in well on the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive line. In other words, he looks like someone who might be skilled at inflicting pain on others. Ironically, Dr. Nadler uses his years of expertise in sports medicine and chiropractic care helping people feel better. In some cases, though, he heals patients by “injuring” them.
Dr. Nadler offers a revolutionary treatment known as extracorporeal radial shockwave therapy, which uses a device to transmit high-energy acoustic waves through the surface of the skin and into areas of the body that suffer from chronic pain. Each treatment, which can cause some slight but tolerable discomfort, increases the metabolic activity around the affected area to break up scar tissue and calcific deposits. Afterward, the surrounding area begins to heal with fresh tissue, thereby reducing the pain or even doing away with it entirely.
“It’s a much less invasive technique than surgery,” says Dr. Nadler, whose practice is based in Newtown Square. “Essentially, the treatment is a controlled fashion of reinjuring the tissue, which then allows the body to regenerate newer, healthier tissue—and with a much faster outcome [than surgery]. The conditions that are most often treated vary, ranging from lower-back syndromes, to frozen shoulders and tennis elbow and patellar tendinitis, to plantar fasciitis and other foot issues.”
A Versatile Option
Medical shockwave technology is not new; in fact, it’s been approximately 40 years since physicians in Munich first used shockwaves to treat a patient afflicted with kidney stones. Instead of removing the stone surgically, the physicians used shockwaves to break the stone into small pieces—a process called lithotripsy—which could then naturally leave the body.
Since then, the medical potential for shockwaves has expanded greatly. Orthopedists and sports physicians discovered the use of lower-energy shockwaves in the early 1990s as a way to heal bones, muscles, tendon insertions, and other parts of the body that suffered from chronic pain.
Today, conditions such as tennis or golfer’s elbow, bursitis, calcific tendinitis of the shoulder, chronic heel spurs, as well as frozen shoulders, neck pain, and even stress fractures, can be treated gently and quickly using radial shockwave therapy, whereas more traditional therapies have proved ineffective. Furthermore, turning to shockwave therapy can help patients forgo surgery, along with the hospital bills and recovery times that come with it.
“I started researching this therapy about 10 years ago and decided to offer it as an option,” says Dr. Nadler. “When conservative therapies such as chiropractic care, physical therapy, and acupuncture have failed to lessen the chronic pain, this becomes an option. I brought it into the practice to create a bridge between the more conservative therapies I’m doing now. I’m one of only a handful of physicians in the region who are utilizing it for all of these different applications.”
The methodology of extracorporeal radial shockwave therapy calls for up to five treatments, with each one spaced seven to 10 days apart. Each treatment lasts only 10 minutes, during which a special device administers 20 “shocks”—better described as acoustic-wave pulses—per second to the treated area, such as a heel or an elbow, for an average treatment of 3,000 to 4,000 pulses. The shockwaves trigger an inflammatory response, which is the body’s natural process of healing. Patients may experience slight but tolerable discomfort during the treatment, as well as some reddening or swelling afterward, but any post-procedure symptoms typically fade within 72 hours.
Although most patients feel significant results after just a single treatment, Dr. Nadler recommends a five-treatment protocol to fully experience the therapy’s benefits. The healing process is accumulative, meaning patients continue to feel improvement long after their final treatment. Because the shockwaves break down damaged cells, which are then rebuilt with healthy ones, maximum relief is typically felt as many as 12 weeks after completing the treatment.
“This therapy is for someone who has exhausted all other options,” he says. “Any patient who has failed at any conservative therapy, whether it’s pharmacological, chiropractic, physical therapy, etc., is a good candidate.
“Unfortunately,” he continues, “chronic pain is something we all experience at some time or another, and it severely impacts our quality of life. This therapy can help.”
Dr. David W. Nadler and Associates P.C.
3475 West Chester Pike, Suite 140
Newtown Square, Pa.
About Dr. Nadler
Dr. Nadler is a certified chiropractic sports physician through the American Board of Chiropractic Sports Physicians and is board certified through the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Also, he has been granted diplomate status through the American Academy of Pain Management.
Throughout his career, Dr. Nadler has served as a chiropractic physician for professional sports teams, including National Lacrosse League’s Philadelphia Wings, Major League Lacrosse’s Philadelphia Barrage, Major Indoor Soccer League’s Philadelphia Kixx, and Arena Football’s Philadelphia Soul. As of 2015, he is the official chiropractic care physician for the Philadelphia Freedoms of World TeamTennis, founded by tennis legend Billie Jean King. In addition, he has treated elite competitors in national and international events, such as the X-Games, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the Men’s U.S. National Gold Cup soccer team.
Photography by Rob Hall and Jody Robinson
Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Life Magazine, September 2018.
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