The effectiveness of interferential current therapy as an adjunct to manipulation in the treatment of acute mechanical low back pain
Background: Low back pain is a common problem for which many conservative treatments are available. Spinal manipulation is considered one of the most effective of these treatments. Interferential therapy is widely used especially for pain control and often forms part of a treatment protocol. However, there is little clinical evidence to support this usage. Objective: The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of interferential current therapy as an adjunct to manipulation in the treatment of acute mechanical low back pain in terms of subjective and objective measures. Methods: Sixty subjects suffering from acute mechanical low back pain were recruited through advertising and randomly divided into two groups with thirty patients each. Group A received manipulation and interferential therapy and group B received manipulation only. Both groups received 4 treatments and a follow-up consultation over a 2 week period. Subjective measurements were taken using the Numerical Rating Scale - 101and revised Oswestry low back pain questionnaire. Objective measurements were taken using an algometer and an orthopaedic rating scale. All measurements were taken before treatment on the first, third and fifth consultations. Statistical inter-group analysis was completed using the two sample unpaired t-test and the Mann-Whitney U-test. Friedman's T test was used to evaluate the intra-group information. The null hypothesis was rejected at a = 0.05 level of significance. Results: Both treatment groups A and B achieved a significant improvement in pain and disability over the treatment period. However, no significant differences in terms of pain and disability could be found between the two groups at any stage during, or at the end of the treatment period.