Whole Body Vibration

Whole body vibration is a key element of our spinal rehab plans here at Spriggs Chiropractic.

Whole body  vibration is well-recognised as a useful alternative and adjunct exercise modality with resistance training1, having been found to be effective for:

  • Increasing force and power generation capacity in skeletal muscles2
  • Increasing bone mineral density3
  • Improving cardiovascular function4

There are many uses of whole body vibration, which we will discuss just a few in this post. In complex terms, the reason why we use it at Spriggs Chiropractic is to induce neuromuscular adaptation within the patients muscles and brain to improve postural control of skeletal muscles2. When we work with a patient to improve their posture and overall spinal/physical function, whole body vibration can be used to induce these changes quickly and easily.

How does it work?

Mechanical vibrations produced by the oscillating or vibrating platform are transmitted into the body in an up-right, weight bearing posture. This in and of itself has been found to be effective enough to improve bone mineral density in elderly women whom have been diagnosed with osteoporosis5. In their study, Lee et al had their participants simply standing on a vibration unit for 5 minutes, 3 time per week for 6-months. They found this increased bone mineral density of the lower spine over this time frame without any additional exercises prescribed5. By adding in dynamic movement exercises whilst on a vibration unit is both a safe and effective way of increasing physical resistance to the body, aiding in skeletal muscle strength and power1,6,7.

Whole body vibration takes conventional resistance training and adds loading to the whole body making it more challenging, but also more exciting in my opinion. Doing some simple bicep curls or stepper exercises whilst on a Power Plate makes them more challenging with oscillation. It has been stated that an acute session of whole body vibration has been shown to acutely increase serum levels of testosterone and human growth hormone and at the same time decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone8,9.

 

Whole Body Vibration on Osteopenia/Osteoporosis

Osteopenia is a condition that is described as a reduction in bone mineral density and is considered the precursor stage of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is described as a significant loss of bone mineral density and should be treated as a serious condition as it increases the patient risks of bone fracture. Osteoprosis mainly effects post-menopausal ladies but can affect men in later life. Osteopenia and generalised reduction of bone mineral density has been shown to be related to chemotherapy10. This condition is seen by many as a serious health condition as it mainly effects ladies in later life, which is also when there is an increased risk of falls. An elderly lady with osteoporosis is therefore much more likely to fracture her hip or any other bone for that matter after a fall.

However, things are not as bleak as they seem as studies have shown that untrained, post-menopausal women were able to increase bone mineral density at the hip joint by 4.3% after 8-months of whole body vibration using it just 3 times per week, at 6×1 minute sessions11. This was better than compared to walking alone. These women also found a 29% improvement in their balance during the same study. This can therefore dramatically reduce the risk of falls in the most at-risk population for osteoporotic hip fracture but both improving balance (thus reducing risk of fall in the first place) and by increasing bone mineral density so if they do fall, they have a reduced risk of fracture.

Anthoer study found that 6 months of 5mm, 30Hz, 10mins per day at a 5 day per week frequency stimulated improvements in bone density of the femoral heads (hips) and lower back, whilst also reducing chronic back pain in another group of post-menopausal women12.

 

Whole Body Vibration and Fat Mass

The combination of whole body vibration and resistance training has been shown to have a more positive effect on body composition by increasing lean muscle mass and reducing body fat than resistance training alone13. Milanese et al found that 8 weeks of whole body vibration training decreased leg and total body fat mass in young, nonobese women14.

At Spriggs Chiropractic, we utilise whole body vibration for our patients who require rehabilitation exercises (both spinal and peripheral joint rehab) and during spinal traction methods for structural rehabilitation of the spine15.

 

Whole Body Vibration on Low Back Pain

The combination of whole body vibration and resistance training/movement exercise has been investigated and shown o be beneficial for chronic low back pain sufferers16. The study Rittweger et al suggests that both lumbar extension exercises combined with whole body vibration was effective for relieving pain and improve daily function of patients suffering with chronic low back pain over a 12-week period. These subjects performed the prescribed exercises for just 7 minutes starting with 2 exercises sessions per week for the first 6 weeks, then once per week for the remaining 6 weeks16.

 

Whole Body Vibration on Vascular Health

Whole body vibration has been shown to increase blood flow to leg muscles3,17–19. Studies has shown that there is a reduction in arterial stiffness immediately following vibration18,20. This is contrary to the known effect of vibration that can cause Raynaud’s or vibration induced white finger disease in the hands of some people when using power tools21. The proposed mechanism for this response has been suggested to be a reflexive widening of the capillaries of the lower leg muscles around the ankles and knees19. This also leads to an increase in oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and lower leg, while allowing the removal of metabolic by-products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid.

Power Plates are a great tool for whole body vibration and can usually be found in your local gym! These are found in Anytime Fitness in Newbury.

 

In summary, there are huge advantages of using whole body vibration both as a therapeutic agent and for exercise. It is a safe alternative to some other resistance training styles that some patients may not be able to tolerate. It is an effective tool we utilise daily in the clinic and our patients’ love to get on it. One of our youngest patients describes it as “the electric surfboard” and he always wants to get on it for his postural exercises. One way your lifestyle may be effecting your spinal heath and bone mineral density include alcohol intake and smoking. This is something we have discussed already in another blog post, which you can click here to go straight to. For more information regarding its use, here is a video to our great friend, mentor and colleague Dr Deed Harrison of the Ideal Spine Health Centre in Idaho explaining more about his facility and using the Power Plate.

 

To find out more or to find out if whole body vibration is a good idea for you to use, give us a call on 01635 432383 and we can arrange your initial consultation today.

 

References:

  1. Paineiras-Domingos LL, Sá-Caputo D da C de, Moreira-Marconi E, et al. Can whole body vibration exercises affect growth hormone concentration? A systematic review. Growth Factors. 2017;35(4-5):189-200. doi:10.1080/08977194.2017.1401619
  2. Beck BR. Vibration Therapy to Prevent Bone Loss and Falls: Mechanisms and Efficacy. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2015;13(6):381-389. doi:10.1007/s11914-015-0294-8
  3. Park S-Y, Son W-M, Kwon O-S. Effects of whole body vibration training on body composition, skeletal muscle strength, and cardiovascular health. J Exerc Rehabil. 2015;11(6):289-295. doi:10.12965/jer.150254
  4. Rittweger J. Vibration as an exercise modality: how it may work, and what its potential might be. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010;108(5):877-904. doi:10.1007/s00421-009-1303-3
  5. Lee M-C, Lai C-L, Tseng S-Y, et al. Effect of 6 months of whole body vibration on lumbar spine bone density in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Interv Aging. 2013;8:1603. doi:10.2147/CIA.S53591
  6. Dallas G, Paradisis G, Kirialanis P, Mellos V, Argitaki P, Smirniotou A. The acute effects of different training loads of whole body vibration on flexibility and explosive strength of lower limbs in divers. Biol Sport. 2015;32(3):235-241. doi:10.5604/20831862.1163373
  7. Mavčič B, Antolič V. Optimal mechanical environment of the healing bone fracture/osteotomy. Int Orthop. 2012;36(4):689-695. doi:10.1007/s00264-012-1487-8
  8. Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA. Hormonal Responses and Adaptations to Resistance Exercise and Training. Sport Med. 2005;35(4):339-361. doi:10.2165/00007256-200535040-00004
  9. Ahtiainen JP, Pakarinen A, Alen M, Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K. Muscle hypertrophy, hormonal adaptations and strength development during strength training in strength-trained and untrained men. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003;89(6):555-563. doi:10.1007/s00421-003-0833-3
  10. Kim SH, Cho YU, Kim SJ, Han MS. Changes in Bone Mineral Density in Women With Breast Cancer. Cancer Nurs. 2019;42(2):164-172. doi:10.1097/NCC.0000000000000586
  11. Gusi N, Raimundo A, Leal A. Low-frequency vibratory exercise reduces the risk of bone fracture more than walking: a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006;7(1):92. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-92
  12. Ruan X-Y, Jin F-Y, Liu Y-L, Peng Z-L, Sun Y-G. Effects of vibration therapy on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Chin Med J (Engl). 2008;121(13):1155-1158. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18710630. Accessed March 13, 2019.
  13. Fjeldstad C, Palmer IJ, Bemben MG, Bemben DA. Whole-body vibration augments resistance training effects on body composition in postmenopausal women. Maturitas. 2009;63(1):79-83. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.03.013
  14. Milanese C, Piscitelli F, Simoni C, Pugliarello R, Zancanaro C. Effects of Whole-Body Vibration With or Without Localized Radiofrequency on Anthropometry, Body Composition, and Motor Performance in Young Nonobese Women. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;18(1):69-75. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0324
  15. Harrison DE, Betz JW, Harrison DD, Haas JW, Oakley PA, Meyer DW. CBP Structural Rehabilitation of the Lumbar Spine. 1st ed. Harrison Chiropractic Biophysics Seminars Inc; 2007.
  16. Rittweger J, Just K, Kautzsch K, Reeg P, Felsenberg D. Treatment of chronic lower back pain with lumbar extension and whole-body vibration exercise: a randomized controlled trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2002;27(17):1829-1834. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12221343. Accessed March 13, 2019.
  17. Wong A, Sanchez-Gonzalez MA, Gil R, Vicil F, Park SY, Figueroa A. Passive vibration on the legs reduces peripheral and systemic arterial stiffness. Hypertens Res. 2012;35(1):126-127. doi:10.1038/hr.2011.164
  18. Otsuki T, Takanami Y, Aoi W, Kawai Y, Ichikawa H, Yoshikawa T. Arterial stiffness acutely decreases after whole-body vibration in humans. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2008;194(3):189-194. doi:10.1111/j.1748-1716.2008.01869.x
  19. Kerschan-Schindl K, Grampp S, Henk C, et al. Whole-body vibration exercise leads to alterations in muscle blood volume. Clin Physiol. 2001;21(3):377-382. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11380538. Accessed March 13, 2019.
  20. Wong A, Sanchez-Gonzalez MA, Gil R, Vicil F, Park SY, Figueroa A. Passive vibration on the legs reduces peripheral and systemic arterial stiffness. Hypertens Res. 2012;35(1):126-127. doi:10.1038/hr.2011.164
  21. Letzel S, Muttray A. Raynaud-Phänomen bei einer beruflichen Vibrationsbelastung. DMW – Dtsch Medizinische Wochenschrift. 2013;138(10):473-476. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1332913

 

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