Whole Body Vibration Induces Back Pain

Despite the mounting evidence of efficacy for low frequency vibration therapy as a treatment for back conditions and joint conditions, as well as for multiple sclerosis and other disease, there is also some evidence that repeated whole body vibration can be harmful. Looking at farmers who experience chronic whole body vibration through their workplace activities, such as when operating farm vehicles, reveals a dose-response relationship between exposure to whole body vibration and low back pain, together with other factors such as age, body posture, and accidents involving the spine (Solecki, 2011).

Whole Body Vibration Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain

Researchers in Spain meanwhile have been looking at the use of whole body vibration therapy, using low frequencies, to reduce the severity of chronic non-specific low back pain. Such symptoms make it unlikely that back surgery will be offered as a treatment as the cause of the pain cannot be isolated; spinal stenosis, whilst present, may not itself be responsible for the symptoms of back pain. del Pozo-Cruz, et al (2011), took fifty patients and applied whole body vibration therapy to half the group, using the other twenty-five patients as a control. After twelve weeks of vibration therapy, with twenty-four training sessions there was a statistically significant improvement in postural stability, back pain, and strength according to various well-established assessment methods. Postural Stability index scores improved more than 20% in the vibration therapy group, with a 24.13% improvement on the visual analogue scale for back pain. The authors noted that the use of vibration plate therapy for those with non-specific chronic low back pain could be a novel therapy, with the potential to reduce reliance on pain medications and the desire for back surgery for spinal stenosis.

References

Kwok Sui Leung, et al, (2009). Low-magnitude high-frequency vibration accelerates callus formation, mineralization, and fracture healing in rats, J Orthop Res 27: 458 – 465.

Chow DH, Leung KS, Qin L, Leung AH, Cheung WH. Low-magnitude high-frequency vibration (LMHFV) enhances bone remodeling in osteoporotic rat femoral fracture healing. J Orthop Res. 2011 May;29(5):746 – 52. doi: 10.1002/jor.21303. Epub 2010 Dec 23.

Atha, J., and Wheatley, D.W., Joint Mobility Changes due to Low Frequency Vibration and Stretching Exercise. Br J Sports Med. 1976 March; 10(1): 26 – 34.

Solecki L., Low back pain among farmers exposed to whole body vibration: a literature review, Med Pr. 2011;62(2):187 – 202.

del Pozo-Cruz B, Hernandez Mocholi MA, Adsuar JC, Parraca JA, Muro I, Gusi N. Effects of whole body vibration therapy on main outcome measures for chronic non-specific lowback pain: a single-blind randomized controlled trial. J Rehabil Med. 2011 Jul;43(8):689 – 94.

Reyes ML, Hernandez M, Holmgren LJ, Sanhueza E, Escobar RG. High-frequency, low-intensity vibrations increase bone mass and muscle strength in upper limbs, improving autonomy in disabled children. J Bone Miner Res. 2011 Aug;26(8):1759 – 66. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.402.

Sun CX, Zhao WZ, He SW, Fang X, Mi LD, DU GY, Zhang L, Sun XG., Patterns of osteoprotegerin or nuclear factor kappa B ligand gene expression in the treatment of bone defect with bone marrow stem cell transplantation and low-frequency vibration. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2011 Apr 5;91(13):920 – 4.