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How WBV can improve the health of arthritis sufferers

19th October 2015

In a previous article, we discussed the causes and mechanisms of arthritis, and showed that this inflammatory condition affects one or more joints, being more common in the elderly.

The causes of arthritis may vary depending on the type we’re referring to, but the common triggers are the wear and tear of joints, bone fractures, autoimmune problems or viral or bacterial infections. These cause the cartilage to get damaged and lead to the swelling of joints, which become painful and stiff.

In these conditions it may be difficult and painful to exercise, but some forms of physical activity such as whole body vibration training have been found to be safe and effective in improving the functional performance and quality of life in arthritis sufferers.

In today’s article we’ll highlight some of the benefits whole body vibration can provide to arthritis sufferers.

1. Whole body vibration can reduce inflammation

Researchers from Brasil found that whole body vibration can reduce inflammation in elderly subjects with knee osteoarthritis. Results of their study were published in the Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, and were obtained after 12 weeks of vibration plate exercises, with three workout sessions per week.

Participants were divided into three groups, one performing squat exercises on a WBV platform, a second group doing squat exercises without vibration and a last one serving as control group. Results suggested that besides the already mentioned benefit, whole body vibration training may also improve self-perception of pain, gait quality and balance in this population.

2. Vibration exercises can reduce pain

Scientists at the Dongguk University College of Medicine, Korea, found that whole body vibration can reduce pain intensity and increase the strength of muscles in the lower body in patients with chronic knee osteoarthritis.

Their study showed that in comparison with home-based exercise programs, vibration training is superior in pain reduction and provides similar benefits in strengthening the muscles and improving balance in this category of people.

Participants to this study performed vibration exercises or conventional exercises for 8 weeks, showing no side effects.

3. Vibration machine training improves physical performance

A single exercise session on a vibration plate may improve physical performance of patients with knee osteoarthritis, shows a study conducted by scientists at the University of Florida Biomechanics Laboratory.

According to this study, exercising on a vibration machine is a viable and safe solution for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, this form of training being effective in improving the ability of OA sufferers to perform a step test and a 20-m walk test.

4. Vibration workouts improve muscle strength

Danish researchers found that working out on a whole body vibration machine can improve muscle strength in patients with knee osteoarthritis, this physical activity being a time-saving and safe method for rehabilitation in this population.

52 women participated to this study, the mean age of participants being 60.4 years. Results measured not only the changes in muscle strength but also in proprioception, participants being assigned to one of 3 groups: one group performed WBV exercises on a stable platform, the second group did vibration workouts on a moving platform, and the third was the control group.

Proprioception improved more in the second group, while improvements in muscle strength were more significant in the first group. All women who were involved in this study exercised for 8 weeks, doing two workouts per week. No additional weights were added, so all patients performed body-weight exercises.

As you can see from these studies, vibration exercises are safe and can contribute to a better quality of life in arthritis sufferers, so if you’re affected by this condition, you may want to add WBV to your daily routine.

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