Sam, a fifty year old man with a history of chronic lower back pain was referred to Lifestyle Therapies from a local health provider. Sam was initially referred for an electrotherapy called InterX, which is an advanced electrical nerve stimulator utilising skin conductivity. Sam had been suffering with constant deep pain and numbness in his right foot for 15 years, initially injuring his back when he was 20 years old. In his thirties, Sam underwent a laminectomy, followed by lumbar fusion of L5-S1 a few years later. Since then he has not lived a day without pain, significantly affecting his quality of life. In addition Sam was suffering hyperalgesia in his lower back due to an incident with a TENS machine. His skin in the lumbar spine was so sensitive, wearing clothes was unbearable which was an indication of Central Sensitization. He was unable to sit in a car for more than one hour without suffering significantly. Sam had one goal, which was to return to his hobby of painting.
Initial assessment findings:Muscle inhibition of core musclesHigh tones in gluteal musclesTender to touch adductors, ITB, and Quadricep muscles.InterX readings were >100 at 2% intensity in the lumbar region with high sensitivity and pain, even with light touch; a sign of static mechanical allodynia.
InterX was used in the chronic setting for 15 minutes during the first visit. Immediately after, Sam was able to tolerate a 5 minute massage. He was also sent home wearing the OF50-3 Octapolar Q magnet, a breakthrough in magnetic therapy. This neuromagnetic device was selected since it’s large enough to cover the adjoining lumbar vertebrae L5,S1 and L4/5.The world first 50mm Octapolar Q magnet
One week after seeing Sam, he reported having pain-free moments for the first time in 14 years. He was also able to tolerate the drive from his house to the clinic with minimal pain. During the next week Sam was disappointed that his symptoms were returning. After examining the Q magnet, he realised it had been reattached incorrectly. Once corrected, his symptoms immediately began to subside.
After seven sessions, Sam’s hypersensitivity had dropped significantly and was able to sit and paint for 5 hours. He had no pain with touch, showing central desensitisation following the use of InterX and was also able to tolerate a much higher intensity with the InterX machine with 20 at 20%.
Since being able to enjoy pain free moments and tolerating hands on treatment such as massage, Sam has significantly improved his quality of life. However, there is still further rehabilitation required for Sam’s progress to continue such as working on stability and core strengthening.
This experience has shown me the possibility of change with pain in chronic patients. It does not matter whether a person has been suffering for 1 year or 15 years, there is still hope and room for improvement.
Has been practicing as a physiotherapist at Lifestyle Therapies since she graduated in 2009.