Low Intensity Vibration (liv) Therapy for Spinal Stenosis
There are numerous studies showing the benefits for joint mobility and flexibility from stretching exercises and physical therapy but little research done on the potential use of low frequency vibration therapy for spinal stenosis or joint flexibility in general. Atha and Wheatley reviewed the literature on this subject and then set out to explore the use of low frequency vibration therapy or low-intensity vibration (LFVT/LIV) on the joints. Their results appear to demonstrate that fifteen minutes of locally applied cycloid vibration of low amplitude and frequency is just as effective as the same time spent conducting flexibility exercises, at least in the case of short-term hip flexor flexibility. The reason cited is the likely effect of muscle relaxation induced by the vibration therapy, so could low frequency vibration therapy help stave off spinal stenosis surgery and offer an alternative to pain medications?
Vibration Therapy as an Alternative to Back Surgery
Those suffering from mobility issues connected to joint health, spinal muscle dysfunction, and other conditions may feel that their treatment options are limited. Back surgery, pain medications, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and spinal manipulation may seem the only ways to address the back pain and dysfunction but perhaps low frequency vibration therapy could offer a safe alternative. Whilst mechanical spinal stenosis is unlikely to be helped by such therapy spinal canal narrowing caused by muscle tension could be a treatment target for low frequency vibration therapy.
Spinal Stenosis Surgery and Vibration Therapy
Mounting evidence suggests that high frequency low magnitude vibration can help in the case of fractures and bone defects by reducing bone resorption and increasing bone growth. Such findings are yet to be tested in cases of spinal fusion surgery but animal models with femoral fractures have consistently showed the benefits of both vibration therapy and the application of bone marrow stromal cells when healing from the bone defects. Clinical trials on the benefits of vibration therapy for human patients undergoing orthopedic surgery, including spinal fusion perhaps, may be just a matter of time.