A new meta-analysis, (looks at many studies) has examined the use of whole body vibration treatment for people with multiple sclerosis. They wanted to know if this nondrug, noninvasive approach has a place in an MS treatment plan?
Whole body vibration is a therapeutic approach that has been used for a variety of medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain, and osteoporosis. At our office, we also use it for many rehab treatment of knees, hips, and shoulders. It involves using a vibrating platform on which participants can sit or stand. NASA has been known to use vibration therapy to help prevent muscle loss in astronauts.
Typically, participants are asked to stand and maintain a static pose on the vibration platform. As the platform vibrates, it forces the muscles to contract and relax many times per second.
Multiple Sclerosis Studies Of Whole Body Vibration
In a study published by the Multiple Sclerosis Trust, the investigators found that use of this approach over a three-month period, along with traditional exercises, was more beneficial than exercise alone in reducing pain and muscle spasms. Generally, the participants reported they had fewer spasms at night, better quality of sleep, improved sensation in their feet, and were better able to climb stairs.
In a review published in 2012, an investigative team reviewed five studies (total patients, 71) to determine the effects of whole-body vibration on individuals with MS. Overall, the experts found that some research has shown patients to experience a significant improvement in muscle strength, functional mobility, and in the get-up-and-go test. As always, the authors suggested further, larger studies be conducted, they also noted that whole-body vibration could help some patients with MS.
In one randomized controlled trial, 60 MS were assigned to an intervention group (whole body vibration three times a week for three weeks) or a control group. During vibration sessions, individuals performed a series of three 60-second exercise sets that increased in amplitude.
At the end of the three-week period, those who participated in the vibration therapy showed a significant improvement in the 6-minute walk compared with baseline than did the control group. They also improved on the sit-to-stand test, get-up-and-go test, and the 10-meter walk test.
In another study, vibration therapy along with progressive resistance training were evaluated during an eight-week study to determine their effect on strength and ambulatory function. The 24 female patients with MS were randomly assigned to participate either in an exercise group or to a control group (no intervention).
The women in the exercise group completed the traditional resistance exercises, and then did six postures on a vibration platform. All the study participants were tested for balance, walking speed, and various strength indicators.
After eight weeks, those in the vibration group demonstrated a significant increase in several muscle groups (knee extensors, abduction of the scapula, downward rotation scapular) as well as left and right leg balance, but a small decrease (9.3%) in the 10-meter walk test. Overall, the authors concluded that “this type of training can cause improvements in muscle strength and functional capacity in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
Whole-body vibration is a noninvasive treatment option available at our office. We have also had MS patients that have responded well to PEMF therapy. Here is link for PEMF for MS. Here is another PEMF link.
Multiple Sclerosis References
Eftekhari E et al. Resistance training and vibration improve muscle strength and functional capacity in female patients with multiple sclerosis. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine 2012 Dec; 3(4): 279-84
Hilgers C et al. Effect of whole-body vibration training on physical function in patients with multiple sclerosis. NeuroRehabilitation 2013; 32(3): 655-63
Rabert MS et al. Whole-body vibration training for patients with neurodegenerative disease.