Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2012) 11, 187 - 200

Review article
Whole-Body Vibration and Rehabilitation of Chronic Diseases: A Review of the Literature
Konstantina Chanou , Vassilis Gerodimos, Konstantina Karatrantou, Athanasios Jamurtas
Author Information
1 University of Thessaly, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Karyes, Trikala, Greece

Konstantina Chanou
‚úČ University of Thessaly, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Karyes, 421 00, Trikala, Greece
Email: konchanou@gmail.com
Publish Date
Received: 12-09-2011
Accepted: 07-02-2012
Published (online): 01-06-2012
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ABSTRACT

The objectives of the study were to review the current literature and findings on the effects of whole-body vibration (WBV) as a training method on performance and its ability to aid in the rehabilitation of chronic diseases (neurological, musculoskeletal or metabolic conditions). Six electronic databases were searched. The combination of the search terminology used included WBV and several neurological, musculoskeletal and metabolic conditions. Twenty six papers were found to be relevant for this review and were included for critical evaluation with regards to sample characteristics, research intervention and methodology. Most studies were conducted on patients diagnosed with neurological conditions (n = 15) while less were performed on patients suffering from musculoskeletal (n = 7) or metabolic (n = 4) disorders. Comparisons were difficult to draw on because of the different pathologies and the differences in the methodology of each study. Some of the observed methodological flaws included limitations in relation to insufficient randomisation, lack of sample homogeneity (size, age variability) and poor blinding in most studies. No consensus could be reached as to whether WBV is more effective than other interventions or no intervention at all, while the additional effects that WBV may have in relation to other interventions could not be assumed. Nevertheless, chronic WBV training seems to only improve strength in neurological patients while balance and mobility improves only in patients suffering from musculoskeletal or metabolic but not from neurological conditions. Although WBV did not prove to be more effective compared to other training methods, it can be used, in some cases, as a less fatiguing and less time-consuming method to enhance physical capabilities. Future research should focus on the effectiveness of WBV in relation to no treatment at all, and to age.

Key words: Exercise, neurological, musculoskeletal, metabolic conditions


           Key Points
  • Chronic WBV training seems to only improve strength in neurological patients while balance and mobility improves only in patients suffering from musculoskeletal or metabolic conditions.
  • WBV did not prove to be more effective than other interventions, while the positive effects of WBV in relation to no intervention at all could not be established.
  • No consensus could be reached as to which vibration type is more effective.
  • WBV training could be used as a safe, less fatiguing and less time-consuming type of exercise for patients with neurologic conditions instead of other more demanding interventions.
 
 
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