Lumbar stenois is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and causes neurologic symptoms almost always resulting in pain. Generally speaking the onset occurs in persons over 50 years of age. The hallmark of lumbar stenosis is pain in the back and legs which is aggravated by bending backwards, standing and walking. The pain is lessened by bending forward and to the sides. Many physicians seem to accept that the natural course of lumbar spinal stenosis is that of a progressive worsening. The classic syndrome associated with lumbar stenosis is termed neurogenic intermittent claudication. The pain generally occurs in the lower limbs of the patient.
Historically it had been accepted that only surgery could check the development of the disease. The procedure is called a decompressive laminectomy in which the laminae (roof) of the vertebrae are removed, creating more space in the spinal canal for the nerves. In 1996 in the British Journal of Neurosurgery it was concluded that conservative treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis is recommended for patients with moderate stenosis. Conservative treatments in 1996 were considered to be physical therapy, chiropractic flexion spinal manipulation, bracing, strength training, muscle stretching and relaxation as well as interferential treatments.
Today with advances in early diagnosis, as well as new modalties such as the drx9000, it is felt an at home treatment of interferential therapy combined with stretching, strength training and increased physical activities may help stop the progression of the disease. The most noticeable aspect of lumbar stenosis is the presence of pain which also prohibits the recommended therapeutic activities.
Interferential therapy provides immediate pain relief. With the ability to treat at home it is reasoned that the multiple treatments will provide prolonged pain relief progressing over time which is called "carryover". The interferential treatments can be administered prior to beginning exercise routines and during the routines so the stretching and rehabilitation exercises can be continued longer and with greater range of motion since the pain will not be present during and after interferential treatment. With interferential providing a biphasic ( +/-) polarity wave form it is felt the positive (+) aspect actually increases blood flow, prevents muscle spasticity, and relieves pain including radiating sciatica. Due to the Widensky effect the area underneath the electrodes during an interferential treatment is naturally anesthesized which also provides the pain relief.
With the advances that have been made it is no longer necessary for the patient suffering from lumbar stenosis to "grin and bear it". There are better non-surgical, non-drug options available.