Vibration therapy : Osteopenia, Osteoporosis

Vibration therapy Is it effective treatment for Osteopenia or Osteoporosis?

For several years there have been machines on the market that vibrate your body and the manufacturers claim that this vibration  stimulates bone growth. These machines are not cheap and some readers have wanted to know just how effective this new type Osteopenia, Osteoporosis treatment is.

I have been reading the research studies for several years. This page offers the latest updates about using  Vibration therapy treatment.

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How does Vibration therapy work?

Basically it is very simple. You stand on the machine platform, hit the ON button and the machine begins to vibrate. That vibration is transferred to your body and so you begin to vibrate - moving up and down, up and down.

It is this movement , sort of like doing tiny 'jumping in place' that the manufactures say will stimulate your Osteoblasts (bone building cells) to create new bone. 

As you know Osteopenia and Osteoporosis has become big business. Not only is the population aging but more and more people live a sedentary life style.

We drive or take public transportation. We have labor saving devices.  And the popularity of TV, Internet and electronic games have us sitting much more than our grandparents ever did. All this means that our bone building cells (Osteoblasts) are not getting the stimulation they need.

What does the research say?

One of the first studies I found was in the Journal of Bone Mineral Research. " Effect of 6-month whole body vibration training on hip density, muscle strength, and postural control in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled pilot study. " by researchers from Leuven, Belgiusm published in 2004.

These researchers found:

1. No vibration-related side effects were observed.

2. Vibration training improved isometric and dynamic muscle strength (+15% and + 16%, respectively; p < 0.01) and also significantly increased BMD of the hip (+0.93%, p < 0.05).

3. And by way of comparison: No changes in hip BMD were observed in women participating in a different program of resistance training.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that WBV training may be a feasible and effective way to modify well-recognized risk factors for falls and fractures in older women and support the need for further human studies.

Another study about Vibration therapy was published in the China Medical Journal 2008 Jul 5. "Effects of vibration therapy on bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis" by Ruan XY, Jin FY, Liu YL, Peng ZL, Sun YG. of the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.

Among their conclusions we find:

RESULTS: Of the 116 women, 94 including 51 women from group A (age 61.23 +/- 8.20) years and 43 women from group B (age 63.73 +/- 5.45 years), completed the study.

1.There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics including age, BMI, menopausal years, lumbar BMD, femoral neck BMD, and VAS between the two groups.

2. AFTER 3 MONTHS: 

A.Lumbar spine: (In the course of the study) The lumbar BMD of the 51 women  increased by 1.3% (P = 0.034) after vibration treatment for 3 months and by 4.3% at the sixth month (P = 0.000).

The lumbar BMD in group B who did not use the machines at all was decreased at the third month, but there was not statistical significance (P > 0.05). At the sixth month, it was decreased by 1.9% (P < 0.05).

B.The femoral neck BMD of the 51 women in group A was slightly increased after vibration treatment for 3 months, but without statistical significance (P > 0.05). At the sixth month, the BMD was increased by 3.2% (P < 0.05).

In group B, the BMD was not decreased significantly (P = 0.185) at the third month, but decreased significantly at the sixth month (1.7%) (P < 0.05) compared with the baseline.

C. Chronic back pain (VAS) reduced more significantly in group A at the third and the sixth months (P < 0.05) after vibration therapy in comparison with the baseline.

CONCLUSIONS: Vibration therapy appears to be useful in reducing chronic back pain and increasing the femoral neck and lumbar BMD in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Still there are significant dangers to this therapy

Although many persons may benefit from this bone building technique - especially those who like the idea of 'passive exercise' to build bone, there are some significant health dangers. Not everyone should use this technique.  Read: Dangers of Vibration therapy.


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