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Can Vibration Plates Help Fibromyalgia?

09th March 2022

Bone aches, muscle pain, prolonged tiredness, feelings of depression, and lack of sleep, are just some of the most common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, the medical condition affects millions of Americans each year and often the symptoms can continue for months. Among the typical triggers of the illness are various infections, injuries, or stressful situations.

Even though fibromyalgia has not been defined as a progressive disease, scientists are still unable to find a cure for it. That means the illness will not become worse over time but is very likely to stay with the person for life. The good news is that there are some treatments that have been found helpful in easing the symptoms. One such treatment is vibration therapy for fibromyalgia. In the following lines, we are going to examine the topic in greater detail.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a pathological condition that has been found to cause widespread pain throughout the whole body. The most affected areas are usually the muscles, joints, and bones. The disease is often accompanied by sleep issues, progressive fatigue, and psychological distress. Furthermore, according to scientific data, fibromyalgia sufferers are much more sensitive to painful sensations, compared to healthy individuals.

This phenomenon is referred to as “abnormal pain perception processing” and is associated with unpleasant feelings and reduced quality of life. It has been estimated that the illness affects approximately 4 million Americans, which accounts for about 2% of the adult US population. As to the whole spectrum of fibromyalgia causes, these are not yet fully known to science.

What is known however is the fact the condition can be managed to a great extent, thus reducing the severity of the symptoms, and easing the pain. One of the latest additions in that area is vibration therapy for fibromyalgia – an activity that is performed on a body vibration plate. So far, the exercise has proven useful in tackling numerous chronic conditions, one of which has been indicated to be fibromyalgia.

Among the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are:

  • Pain throughout the whole body
  • Tiredness, stiffness, and fatigue
  • Depressive episodes, anxiety, and insomnia
  • Difficulties thinking and concentrating
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Other symptoms may include:
  • Abdominal pain, constipation, and bloating

What is vibration therapy?

Vibration therapy (VT), often referred to as whole body vibration (WBV), is a type of physical activity that is performed on a body vibration machine. The machine is a type of innovative fitness equipment that has gained a significant chunk of popularity over the past couple of decades. Bigger muscle power, increased bone mineral density, improved blood circulation, reduced chronic pain, and lower body mass index, are just some of the benefits associated with vibration therapy.

During the exercise, the plate produces higher frequency vibrations that travel through your body. This makes the muscles contract at a much greater rate, thus benefiting almost every area of human health. As for vibration therapy for fibromyalgia, scientists have discovered that exercise benefits sufferers in several different ways, which will be covered in the next section.
Before that let’s take a look at some of the most prominent benefits of whole body vibration:

  • Increased muscle power and strengthen bones
  • Improved blood circulation and aid lymphatic drainage
  • Reduced chronic back pain and overall body aches
  • Accelerated physical recovery and injury healing
  • Sped-up metabolism and fat burning rate
  • Reduced risk of developing various chronic illnesses
  • Decreased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Improved body balance and coordination

Can vibration therapy for fibromyalgia help?

Over the past several years, vibration therapy for fibromyalgia has been a subject to various scientific studies, such as this randomized controlled trial. The overall data reveals pretty promising results, indicating several major benefits for people suffering from the condition. The regular treatment appears to be improving most of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, including pain reduction, increased flexibility, and better quality of life.

Below are some of the most beneficial effects associated with vibration therapy for fibromyalgia:

  • The regular implementation of VT helps reduce the symptoms of pain and fatigue by inhibiting the pain receptors in the peripheral nervous system;
  • VT improves fibromyalgia sufferers’ quality of life by improving blood flow to tissues, reducing body inflammation, improving joint flexibility, and decreasing the amounts of stress;
  • Vibration therapy for fibromyalgia has been found beneficial for raising body balance, strengthening bones, and improving disability index in patients suffering from the condition.

Another major benefit of whole body vibration is its low impact nature and ease of practicing. Unlike conventional physical activity, which involves higher pressure on the joints and bones, WBV is gentle to the body, thus keeping your vital organs safe. This is an important factor when it comes to fibromyalgia sufferers, as they have been found to exhibit averseness towards engaging in regular physical exercise over fear of pain that may be linked with it.

How to use vibration therapy for fibromyalgia?

Whole body vibration is a type of exercise that produces mechanical oscillations. As a result of that energy is transferred from the vibration device onto the human body. The generated oscillations are described by amplitude, frequency, and G-force. Scientists have discovered that the most favorable ranges when it comes to vibration therapy for fibromyalgia are as follows:

  • Amplitude: no more than 8 mm
  • Frequency: within the 5 – 35 Hertz range
  • G-force: between 10 – 25 Gs

The therapy involves standing, sitting, or lying down on the vibration plate. As part of that the muscles are stimulated to contract and relax at an accelerated rate, thus benefiting the various aspects of human health. Due to its nature, vibration therapy has been found particularly beneficial for individuals with fibromyalgia. Before you engage in such exercise though, you should take into consideration several important aspects.

  • When using the body vibration machine for the first time, please make sure you perform a sufficient amount of pre-exercise stretching;
  • Once well-stretched out, move onto the platform by starting with warming up exercise at a lower setting;
  • 2-3 minutes later, you can start slowly to increase the intensity of the exercise, but remember to keep it easy at the beginning;
  • During the first 2 – 3 weeks avoid using the equipment for longer than 10 – 15 minutes. As you progress and your confidence grows, you can gradually increase the settings, and extend the duration to 20 – 25 minutes;
  • Always end the session with 2 minutes cooling-down exercise at a lower setting;

Conclusion

Fibromyalgia is a chronic medical condition that affects almost 4 million Americans each year. The illness has been associated with several unpleasant symptoms, including widespread pain, stiffness, muscle aches, and reduced quality of life. Even though the disease is not progressive, once developed it could stay with us for life.

Luckily, scientists have discovered various treatment methods, addressed at tackling the illness. One of the latest successful additions in that matter is vibration therapy for fibromyalgia. So far, the activity has been showing some impressive results and has been able to improve the lives of many patients with fibromyalgia.

Hopefully, future studies will bring even more good news. In the meantime just remember to stretch, warm-up and cool down during every vibration session, and to progress gradually. Should you decide to purchase the machine for home use, always buy from a reputable and trusted manufacturer, such as Hypervibe.

References (in order of appearance)

Siracusa, R., Paola, R. D., Cuzzocrea, S., & Impellizzeri, D. (2021). Fibromyalgia: Pathogenesis, Mechanisms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options Update. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(8), 3891.

Collado-Mateo, D., Adsuar, J. C., Olivares, P. R., Del Pozo-Cruz, B., Parraca, J. A., Del Pozo-Cruz, J., & Gusi, N. (2015). Effects of Whole-Body Vibration Therapy in Patients with Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Literature Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine.

Mingorance, J. A., Montoya, P., Miranda, J., & Riquelme, I. (2021). The Therapeutic Effects of Whole-Body Vibration in Patients With Fibromyalgia. A Randomized Controlled Trial. Frontiers in neurology, 12, 658383.

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