A lot of the key benefits and advantages of vibration therapy for arthritis make it one of the most suitable exercises if you suffer from arthritis. One of the most common areas that has been studied with vibration therapy is knee arthritis. The primary goal is to always strengthen the muscles around the knee joint so it’s able to handle the impact of every day life. Let’s take a look at a study that was done with vibration therapy for arthritis:
Effect of whole body vibration exercise on muscle strength and proprioception in females with knee osteoarthritis. (2009). The Knee. Trans T, et al.
The study showed that WBV exercise on a stable vibration platform yielded increased muscle strength, while the WBV exercise regime on a balance board showed improvement in TDPM (proprioception). The WBV exercise is a time saving and safe method of rehabilitation for women with knee Osteoarthritis.
This study looked at 52 women with an average age of 60.4 years. All had a diagnosis of arthritis. There are some interesting findings with this, which can be summarized as follows:
Vibration therapy for arthritis can actually increase strength of the muscles around the knee joint. These are similar results to resistance training. The best way to summarize this study can be to quote a paragraph from the study. This pretty much says it all:
“This study shows that WBV training is a safe (no adverse effects), suitable (no drop-outs due to the intervention) and effective (increased muscle strength) training method- and potentially a feasible intervention for those patients that cannot participate in conventional strength training. The findings of this study indicate that vibration therapy for arthritis has potential for strength gain in female patients with mild to moderate knee-OA. Additionally, WBV training could yield similar effects as regular strength training, but with lower loads on the affected joint.”
The study also pointed to the fact that apart from this positive effect, there was a lack of self reported disease status. In plain English, most of the people in the study didn’t feel they improved in terms of pain or function. An interesting thing to point out is that the researchers felt that this may be due to the fact that the dose may have been too low to have clinical effects. This leads to the same points we have been making. A vibration platform requires a sufficient amount of amplitude and frequency to generate a high enough amount of stimulus. It’s like lifting weights. If you only have up to 50 pounds, you will get stronger, but you will plateau at 50 pounds. As you get stronger, you may need to get to 100 pounds. A vibration platform with a higher amplitude level will be similar to having the extra 50 pounds.
Where is research going with vibration therapy for arthritis? Well there are some studies ongoing with pivotal machines also, so let’s not get too excited that vertical is what you need. There is also some interest in looking at very high frequencies. Let’s say in the 500 hertz range. That however is a different type of vibration, but does show that experimenting with different frequencies may have a different effect on the body. For now, vertical devices at 30 to 50 hertz with sufficient amplitude is recommended. Pivotal machines from 5 to 30 Hertz is recommended, but real strengthening occurs over 25 Hertz. So make sure the pivotal machine you are buying is one that actually gets up to the 25 to 30 Hertz range, and the vertical ones have sufficient amount of amplitude to be effective for knee arthritis rehabilitation through vibration exercise therapy. Whatever your needs with vibration therapy for arthritis, it’s important to remember that your success will only be achieved through the right program that fits you.
Dr. Jasper Sidhu has been using vibration platforms for over 10 years in rehabilitation, sports, fitness and weight loss settings. In addition to hands on treatment of patients and clients in these settings, he has lectured at various universities and medical association meetings on the application of vibration training.