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WBV improves bone mass and mobility in kids and adults with CP

26th August 2016 in Pearl Diver Newsby Sarah Husband
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A recent clinical trial conducted by researchers from the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, New Zealand, found that whole body vibration training can improve the bone and muscle mass, bone density and mobility in children and young adults with cerebral palsy, causing no adverse effects.

The study involved the participation of 40 patients (23 males and 17 females) aged 11 to 21, all of them suffering from mild to moderate cerebral palsy. The participants performed vibration plate exercises for 9 minutes per day, 4 days per week, for a total of 20 weeks.

The vibration frequency used for this study was 20 Hz, and the parameters tested at the end of this trial were the bone mineral density, bone mineral content, time taken to perform the chair test, the muscle mass and distance walked in the 6-minute walk test. Compliance with the prescribed study protocol was around 74%, most of the participants (80%) completing more than half of the prescribed vibration sessions.

Each whole body vibration session consisted of three 3-minute bouts of vibration, with 3-minute breaks between sets. In the beginning, participants performed three 1-minute bouts of vibration at 12Hz, then the duration of the sessions and the vibration intensity were increased progressively, based on the response of each participant. Most of the participants were already training at 15 Hz by the end of the first week and at 20 Hz by the end of week 4.

For those individuals who had difficulty in standing on the plate, a metal frame was used as an aid, but the remaining participants performed the basic stance position, standing barefoot on the vibration machine with feet apart and knees slightly bent. In most cases the participants’ hands were free during the WBV sessions.

There were no adverse effects during the vibration therapy sessions and at the end of the 20 weeks, participants showed an increase in lean mass in the trunk, lower limbs and total body, as well as an increase in bone mineral density and bone mineral content, especially in the lumbar spine and lower limbs. The vibration treatment helped reduce the time taken to perform the chair test and improved the distance walked by the cerebral palsy patients. The muscle mass and mobility were also improved.

In children and young adults affected by cerebral palsy, the bone mass is reduced due to the abnormal development, and the risk of fracture is increased. Muscles are weak and the muscle function and mobility are affected, this condition being one of the most common causes of physical disability in childhood.

This study found that whole body vibration therapy can increase muscle mass and bone mass and density, while improving mobility in this group of patients. The participants with more significant functional impairment saw the greatest improvements in mobility.

To learn more about the effects of whole body vibration on muscles and bones, check our dedicated pages, or our previous blog articles. If you have questions regarding whole body vibration exercises or therapy, you can post them below or on our Facebook page.