We are delighted to let you know that we now have in our clinic a vibration machine called Vibra. It has been of great help for many of our patients, including the elderly community, using it to treat many conditions in geriatric patients. Vibra has helped them to increase muscle power without upsetting the joints, not to mention the positive impact is has on balance and proprioception. Please refer to recent studies below, a video of Vibra in motion and also a testimonial of one of our patients. Birmingham University has been doing great research on this topic and we were called to talk about this to the physio students in 2019.
Focal Selective Vibrations
Vibra 3.0 is a non-invasive treatment for various muscular and neuromuscular pathologies. The applied high therapeutic value vibrations promote metabolic and neurophysiological responses in musculoskeletal apparatus. It produces selective square wave mechanical-sound vibrations via multiple cup transducers which influence the Central Nervous System through the afferent fibres. Operant may use various modifications for different therapeutic outcome such is relaxation, stimulating, increasing muscle tone, reducing spastic muscle tone etc. Vibra 3.0 can be used in the pre- and post-operation rehab, neurological rehab, sports rehab, pain management and elderly rehab. It is capable of improving proprioception, postural balance, muscle coordination and tone. The treatment is safe and has high therapeutic efficacy.
This is the Research we carried out on Vibra and its results.
Vibration Studies – Elderly Rehab
Falls, Stroke and knee Osteoarthritis
Stimulation with vibration is well-known to promote a neuromuscular response. Whole body vibration is commonly used for this purpose, however a patient receiving such treatment is not able to take an active part in it. On the other hand, the focal vibrations enable patients to move whilst receiving the treatment, thus it can be combined with exercising.
Vibration therapy is widely used in elderly rehab. These patients have decreased proprioception sensitivity and if dual-tasking is required, there might be a risk of fall. Vibration applied to lower limbs can improve the balance even in absence of the visual input and with altered proprioception . When applying focal vibration to the upper limb in healthy subjects, it is able to promote long-term depression-like plasticity at the spinal cord level . This helps to understand the mechanism of the focal muscle vibration.
Vibration, either focal or whole-body, brings many benefits to the stroke rehab as it promotes brain reorganization. Focal one was proven to improve upper and lower limb functions in chronic stroke patients . In combination with physical therapy, repeated local muscle vibration to biceps brachii and wrist flexors reduces resting muscle threshold and decreases short-interval intracortical inhibition in extensors, and this effect lasts at least two weeks after the treatment . Examining the motor functions of the upper limb one month after receiving similar treatment in chronic stroke patients showed lasting effects of the improvement . Review by Alashram et al. done on upper limb spasticity in stroke patients published between 2012-2019 revealed that focal muscle vibration reduces spasticity, however, the dosage and treatment protocol is unclear .
Double-blinded controlled study by Casale et al. studied reducing spasticity in the upper limb applying focal vibration to the antagonists . For this purpose, they used VIBRA in combination with physiotherapy. Thirty hemiplegic patients, divided into studied and controlled group, were receiving five treatments a week for two weeks. VIBRA was applied with 100Hz vibration. Only the studied group showed significant improvement of the spasticity, and this suggests that focal vibration in combination with physiotherapy has better results than physiotherapy alone in stroke rehab .
Another study using VIBRA in its intervention investigated muscle function and clinical outcomes in patients with knee osteoarthritis . Thirty subjects aged 45-60 were receiving VIBRA therapy or neuromuscular electrical stimulation of the quadriceps muscle. VIBRA group showed significant improvement of the knee function, pain reduction and furthermore, elevated type II muscle fibres involvement . This supports focal muscle vibration to be more effective in knee osteoarthritis rehab than “classic” neuromuscular electrical stimulation.
“I am 84 years old, and have always been fit and healthy and exercised regularly.
3 years ago I underwent emergency surgery for peritonitis, and had a colonoscopy bag for 6 months and straight after surgery to reversal of the stoma. After this surgery I felt my legs very weak. To complete my drama, during the last summer I developed an abdominal hernia and had surgery for hernia repair. This made me even weaker specially at my legs.
I have recovered but felt weak. I started my sessions at ALO Physiotherapy at the beginning of January, with the Vibra Machine combined with specific exercises. I have now recovered my body strength, particularly in the legs. I am now walking normally and without pain. I am delighted!”
~ Barbara ~