Interview with Dr. J Adam Wagner, Chiropractor – Addressing Pain with Pressure Wave Technology


INTERVIEWER: Describe your practice and the kind of conditions you address.

Dr. Wagner: My practice is a little different than a lot of other Chiropractic practices in that I treat a lot of pain management. I don’t do a lot of wellness. I specialize in people with painful conditions and I try and get them better and get the situation managed. A lot of times I co-treat these patients with a multitude of medical specialties such as neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and many others. At my office we utilize an integrative approach by offering a lot of different therapies such as spinal decompression, acupuncture, massage, Pressure Wave and much more.

INTERVIEWER: What would you say your personal philosophy is when it comes to helping patients who are dealing with chronic pain, injuries or sports injuries, that keep them from living the lifestyle they want to lead?

Dr. Wagner: Well, l up till recently, a lot of conditions, depending on what they are have been very difficult to manage, but now, not so much because we now have the advent of Shock-Wave Therapy which is also called Pressure Wave Therapy.

INTERVIEWER: What is it exactly?

Dr. Wagner: Back in the eighties they came out with something which basically used high-energy shockwaves focused in a very small space to penetrate the body and break up kidney stones. They could do this without having to surgically remove them, with no tissue being damaged and just cracking those little stones up, and passing them in urine. What they noticed also was that the shockwave had the ability to regenerate bone. They started to study it and then they started to expand, and then they realized that this shock-wave therapy had a lot of different things going on physiologically in the body.

There are different types of shockwave focused and non-focused. The shockwave that I deal with primarily, is dispersed, or a radial shockwave. The benefit to that, it’s better for soft tissue, and tendon areas and it promotes a better healing process in my opinion. In my practice, I’m using the radio shock-wave, which is more dispersed, and not as pinpoint.

INTERVIEWER: What kind of conditions can you treat with the Shockwave/Pressure Wave device?

Dr. Wagner: It is one of these incredible inventions that basically there’s not much you can’t treat with it. But in our realm, what we’re dealing with are painful conditions such as calcific tendonitis of the rotator cuff, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, Achilles tendon pain, Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow. Hip bursitis, hip tendonitis, back pain, neck pain and even TMJ which is a real big problem and very many times it is very difficult to treat.

INTERVIEWER: Let’s focus in on TMJ, because so many people battle TMJ and as you just mentioned it is very difficult to treat.

Dr. Wagner: There are quite a few possible causes for the temporomandibular joint, or the jaw joint to be painful. It can have to do with improper posture of the head. It can happen from malocclusion, misalignment of the teeth. It can happen from the possibility of grinding, clenching, or muscular dysfunction. The problem here, is that, it’s been a multi-disciplinary approach for many years as far as the muscular effect, it’s been really difficult. A lot of chiropractors adjust the jaw but many times this condition’s so painful you can’t even go there with that.

INTERVIEWER: How is Pressure Wave Technology used for TMJ?

Dr. Wagner: What we are doing here is we’re applying a very comfortable pulse of shockwaves into the musculature, into the joint itself and into the deep muscles behind the joint. What happens is that it is allowing us to get in places we’ve never been able to before, that previously you had to get in with a needle inside the mouth or surgically.

What it’s accomplishing that those modalities can’t is it’s causing new blood vessels to grow and new collagen tissue so that the joint helps heal itself to varying possibilities and starts to reduce pain. That is what the shock-wave/Pressure Wave Therapy does, increases blood flow to the areas through a bunch of different biochemical processes. It also helps increase bone repair and regenerate the issue.

INTERVIEWER: What would you say to a person who has TMJ regarding why they should look into Pressure Wave Therapy?

Dr. Wagner: The treatments are very short in duration which is really nice. They are not really not painful, especially with this low energy setting that we use because it’s close to a lot of bones on the face. Treatments can take about ten to twelve minutes, generally, once a week and anywhere from four to eight treatments depending on what has to be done. Many times there’s a lot of instant relief. These shockwaves have also been shown to cause temporary local anesthesia through a certain physiologic processes. Many times when we treat a patient with this, they can open their mouth with less pain, or no pain, to a much greater degree than they could prior with other modalities.

INTERVIEWER: What’s been the feedback from the patients that you treat with Pressure Wave /Shockwave Therapy for TMJ?

Dr. Wagner: It’s been excellent so far, it’s blown my mind, to pardon the cliché. When I first started using it for temporomandibular joint pain, the patient’s responses were amazing they feel incredible afterwards and this is on some really difficult patients. I have gotten together with a dentist, and we started to develop a protocol, on how to approach this. It has been doing really well.

INTERVIEWER: If people are in your area and they have pain issues or they are suffering from TMJ and are interested in getting more information how would they go about doing that?

Dr. Wagner: They would give our office a call (215) 230-8100 or visit our web site, Wagner Integrative Therapies. When they make an appointment we would then see them for a very thorough initial exam and patient history and decide what is going to be the best approach for them.