Whole body vibration (WBV) is a form of treatment that has been shown to have an important role in increasing neuromuscular performance, improving muscular strength, balance, gait mechanics, and quality of life. WBV therapy has emerged in the field of research as a method for pain relief across multiple conditions.
The technique involves standing and holding positions, or performing prescribed exercises, on a platform that is vibrating at a programmed frequency, amplitude, and magnitude of oscillation. WBV was first introduced in the clinical setting to enhance bone-mineral density in patients with osteoporosis, and has since expanded to many may benefits below:
- Improve strength and neuromuscular activation in more sedentary populations, such as older adults;
- Decreased pain and fatigue levels in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome;
- Enhanced postural control and functional mobility in patients with multiple sclerosis;
- Improve gait mechanics in patients with Parkinson’s disease.1
- As well as, applying to pulmonary strength and body composition. WBV therapy has emerged in the field of research as a possible method for pain relief across multiple conditions.
The therapy has been indicated across the literature as an effective, noninvasive, non-pharmacological, relatively easy-to-use, and comparatively inexpensive therapy that could provide relief from chronic pain, as described herein.
WBV for Chronic Pain Conditions
Pain is a primary symptom of osteoarthritis (OA), diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), and fibromyalgia.
Research by Park and colleagues concluded that individuals suffering from chronic pain produced by knee OA found relief after practicing WBV therapy in conjunction with a home-based exercise program. More specifically, the individuals that participated in WBV therapy and home-based exercise had reduced pain intensity when compared to those who practiced only home-based exercise.
Whole body vibration may offer a unique exposure mechanism to the nervous system that inhibits the proprioceptors from being overactivated and, in turn, may leave the muscle in a lengthened, more relaxed position. This phenomenon is often observed during static and dynamic flexibility training programs. The rapid vibrations appear to desensitize the muscle spindles which allows the muscle cells to lengthen without excessive static stretching. Dynamic stretching techniques are typically performed through deep ROM, held for a short period of time, and performed rather quickly to provide increased ROM through neural mechanisms. Research has demonstrated that WBV platforms may provide the body with a stimulus similar to that of a dynamic stretching routine.
Additional studies have examined the acute effects of WBV and measured flexibility after a single exposure. Results have indicated that brief exposure to whole body vibration may acutely improve flexibility when compared to stable ground stretching.
Balance is a multifaceted ability that may influence physical capabilities over the lifespan. Among other factors, a lack of nervous system flexibility, hip tightness, and hip weakness may be attributed to poor balance at any age. Whole body vibration training provides the body with a form of exercise that may help to improve all of these factors and has been shown through research to improve balancing tasks.
More recent research has shown that, at frequencies below 20 Hz, vibration may actually reduce LBP by inducing muscle relation and improving the strength of abdominal and back extensor muscles.
Are you ready to try some of the newest technology out there to keep you active? Call us today at 507.532.4355 for your appointment.