‘It’s a Game Changer’
For in-their-prime professional athletes, retirees, and everyone in between, Dr. David W. Nadler offers a revolutionary therapy to cure patients’ pain and heal their injuries.
by Phil Gianficaro

Maybe you’re a professional athlete suffering from a pulled hamstring. Or a weekend warrior sidelined after debilitating shoulder muscle pain following a shanked tee shot. Or a hard worker whose lower back gave out while lifting heavy boxes in a busy warehouse. Or a cheerleader who partially tore a tendon in her elbow during a world-class routine. Or maybe you injured a muscle performing an ordinary household chore.
Whatever the tissue injury, the solution to returning you to your former healthy self may be tricking your body into recovery. According to sports chiropractic doctor David W. Nadler, D.C., of Newtown Square, the solution may be a procedure called Focused Shockwave Therapy. 
Medically referred to as Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy, or ESWT, the treatment is a noninvasive application that involves the delivery of a unique set of shockwaves to injured soft tissue to reduce pain and promote healing. The technology was originally developed in the 1970s as a method to break up kidney stones, but research suggests many orthopedic injuries also improve with ESWT.
During treatment, Dr. Nadler uses a handheld device that emits targeted soundwaves to the injured area. Shockwaves are short and intense energy waves that travel faster than the speed of sound. The therapy works by passing shockwaves into the affected tissues; by causing micro-trauma, the therapy increases blood flow and stimulates an acute inflammatory response, thereby aiding and stimulating the healing process.
“The shockwaves trick the body into thinking it’s injured,” explains Dr. Nadler, who has been offering the FDA-approved procedure since 2007. “It works by something called mechanotransduction, causing an inflammatory response, which is the body’s natural healing process. In medicine, we know the lack of blood flow is a major contributing factor that impedes healing in muscles, tendons, bones, and wounds. The shockwaves stimulate VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), which causes angiogenesis, something that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels in addition to other growth factors for tendons, cartilage, and bone. This type of treatment is a game changer.”
Prior to the procedure, Dr. Nadler conducts an extensive consultation with each patient, including performing an extensive orthopedic, palpatory examination to determine range of motion and does muscle testing. Then he apprises the patient of the best course of treatment. During the procedure, a contrast medium gel is applied to the skin to help transfer energy from the device to the injured tissue. As Dr. Nadler surveys the region using the handheld device over the injured area, he asks the patient to tell him, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most painful, what their pain threshold is. With an 80 percent success rate from improving sports performance to delaying progression of osteoarthritis. Patients typically undergo five treatments, with each session lasting 30 minutes. There is no downtime, no anesthesia, and no scarring.
“The treatment depth is 12 centimeters max dosage, with focused, precise energy delivery and pinpoint accuracy,” Dr. Nadler adds. “After the fifth treatment, we have up to 12 weeks post-treatment. That’s when tissue remodeling (collagen synthesis) and regeneration take place. Prior to shockwave therapy for these types of injuries, we did conventional physical therapy, electrical stimulation, and rehab. Those are still utilized, but often in conjunction with shockwave.”
Dr. Nadler has spent decades curing patients’ pain problems. He received his doctorate from the Pennsylvania College of Chiropractic, in Philadelphia, and his post-doctorate in chiropractic neurology from the Cleveland Chiropractic College. He is a certified member of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. Furthermore, he is board certified with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, and in manipulation under anesthesia from the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut) School of Chiropractic.
Dr. Nadler served as the team chiropractic physician for the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League and the Philadelphia Barrage, the three-time champion of Major League Lacrosse. In addition, Dr. Nadler spent 10 seasons as the team chiropractic physician for the Philadelphia Kixx of the Major Indoor Soccer League. He was also selected as one of the doctors for the 2003 Women’s World Cup of Soccer. He provided his expertise to The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team during the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2009, serving as the team chiropractic physician. During the 2001 X-Games, Dr. Nadler served as a sports medicine staff chiropractic physician. 
Presently, Dr. Nadler is the team chiropractic physician for the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League, the Philadelphia Freedoms, which is a professional coed tennis team in World TeamTennis, and the UMAS Royals. He also treats athletes in the NBA, MLB, NFL, and MLS.
“I am seeing everyone from pro athletes to high-level, world-class cheerleaders to weekend warriors, as well as your 60-year-old who has knee issues,” he says. “All of them benefit from shockwave therapy. More than 500 empirical data show how effective it is. As I said, it’s a game changer.”
Dr. Nadler treated a basketball player who was sidelined with a partial torn meniscus. The patient came in with pain for months and was walking with crutches, and Dr. Nadler treated him with six weeks of shockwave therapy. The patient was off crutches in approximately eight weeks, and back to shooting baskets within four months. He had had surgery on his other knee eight years prior and was quite surprised at the outcome he had received with shockwave therapy, without having to undergo surgery. 
Dr. Nadler reminds patients that healing takes time. He also provides encouragement, assuring them that he will bring every resource to bear in his quest to alleviate their pain. 
“I will do everything I can to get them back to their normal activities of living or back onto the athletic field,” he says. “I can tell you nothing is more gratifying to me than to get someone who has been in a lot of pain out of pain.”

Dr. David W. Nadler & Associates, P.C.
3475 West Chester Pike, Suite 140
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 314-7079

Photograph by Jeff Anderson