Vibration Treatment For Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia sufferers are ever vigilant for new and effective treatments and researchers are working hard to discover them. One unusual new therapy has Spanish researchers excited: tilt platform vibration. The researchers say this strange-sounding treatment improves the balance of patients suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome.

The authors of the study report tell us that almost half of all fibromyalgia patients suffer from poor balance. Earlier studies have shown that whole body vibration has been found to improve balance, increase bone mass, and boost motor function in seniors. However, until this newer study, no controlled studies had been done regarding intensive vibration therapy through the use of a tilt platform in those with fibromyalgia.

Lead author of the study is Dr. Narcis Gusi, who hails from the University of Extremadura in Caceres, Spain. Gusi and his team studied 41 women sufferers of fibromyalgia aged 41-65. Half of the women (21) were randomized to receive the vibration therapy, while the other 20 received the usual care for fibromyalgia with no special physical therapy.

Slow Walking

Those who received the therapy were given 3 sessions a week over a 12-week period with the tilt platform administering low-frequency (12.5 Hertz) anteroposterior (front to back) vibration. Prior to each session, the participants did slow walking for ten minutes as a warm-up. The vibrations were given in six repetitions, each lasting 60 seconds.

Out of those who received this intervention, two participants were forced to quit due to scheduling conflicts, one dropped out because of acute pain in both legs, while two participants in the non-intervention group left the study out of boredom with the project. In the final analysis, those who received the vibration treatment had their balance improve by 36% while there was no apparent change in the control group. The greatest improvements were seen in those women who weighed the most and had the poorest balance prior to the study's inception.

Preventing Falls

An online report of the study appeared on March 16, 2010 in Arthritis Care & Research. In this report, the researchers state their firm belief that tilt vibration therapy has the capacity, "to help reduce bone mass loss and improve strength and speed, which are critical for reacting and preventing stumbles and falls."

The researchers caution that further studies over a longer period of time are crucial to determine whether the therapy can provide clinical improvements, for instance, reduce the number of falls, or raise the ability to withstand pain.

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