Journal of Student Physical Therapy Research
Study design: A randomized double blind repeated measures, case series study of whole body vibration (WBV) in the assisted living elderly.
Background: A single exposure to WBV has been shown to have benefit with respect to muscle activity, strength, balance, and power in some studies while other studies have found no benefit. Its overall effectiveness is unknown due to the conflicting findings reported in the literature.
Case description: Six subjects (5 female, 1 male; mean age = 85.4) in an assisted living community volunteered to participate. Subjects were exposed to a single bout of WBV at 0, 2, 20, and 26 Hz. Dependent variables including timed get up and go, chair sit and reach, one-legged stance time, and counter-movement jump were collected ten minutes prior, and two, twenty, forty, and sixty minutes after exposure. Published times for predicting falls using the timed up and go test and one-legged stance time were used to determine the number of outcome measures predicting falls prior to WBV. This was then compared to the number of outcome measures that predicted falls after exposure to determine any change.
Outcomes: WBV had no statistically significant effect on mobility in the elderly. However, trends suggest mean timed get up and go may improve after 20 Hz and 26Hz. Mean chair sit and reach showed minimal improvement with time bilaterally following all frequencies of WBV. No trends were found for one-legged stance time and counter-movement jump. The fall risk assessment suggested improvements following 2 Hz of WBV, but findings were not significant.
Conclusion: WBV had no significant effect on mobility in the assisted living elderly. Further research with larger sample size would be beneficial.
Copyright © 2013, Elon University
Garrity, Christina; Merriman, Harold L.; and Brahler, C. Jayne, "Whole-Body Vibration Improves Functional Mobility, Flexibility, and Relative Risk for Falling in the Assisted Living Elderly: A Case Series" (2013). Physical Therapy Faculty Publications. 34.