Effects of whole-body vibration therapy on pain, functionality, postural stability, and proprioception in patients with subacute and chronic non-specific low back pain: a systematic review.


INTRODUCTION: Non-specific low back pain (NLBP) is a common and clinically significant condition with substantial socioeconomic implications. Whole-body vibration therapy (WBVT) has shown effectiveness in improving pain and sensorimotor function (e.g., in osteoporosis) in previous studies. However, studies had heterogeneous settings. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of WBVT on pain, function, proprioception, and postural stability in patients with subacute and chronic NLBP. METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted in the scientific databases PubMed, EMBASE, and PEDro (from inception until 17.05.2023). Only prospective controlled and uncontrolled studies were included. Outcome measures assessed were pain intensity, function (activities of daily living and physical function), proprioception, and postural stability. RESULTS: A total of 12 original articles (n = 821) were included in the analysis. Ten of the studies were randomized controlled trials, one study had a crossover design, and one study had a one-group pre-post study design. The studies compared WBVT vs. no intervention, WBVT vs. basic physical therapy, WBVT vs. core stabilization exercises with and without respiratory resistance, WBVT vs. lumbar extension exercises, and WBVT vs. whole body electromyostimulation training. The treatment approaches varied in terms of duration (2-18 weeks), frequency (2-3 times per week, two applications with a 2-week break), vibration frequency (5-30 Hz), type of exercises (WBVT with or without static or dynamic exercises), and vibration direction (horizontal and vertical). Significant pain reduction was observed in all 10 studies that investigated pain levels. Significant improvement in daily activity function was reported in five of the six studies that investigated daily function, while improvement in physical function was observed in all four studies that investigated physical function. Improvement in proprioception was reported in all three studies that investigated proprioception, and significant improvement in postural stability was observed in four out of six studies that investigated postural stability. No adverse events or side effects related to WBVT were reported. CONCLUSION: The majority of the included studies demonstrated significant pain reduction, improvement in physical and daily functioning, and enhanced proprioception. Improvement in postural stability was less consistent. WBVT appears to be a safe and effective treatment modality for subacute and chronic NLBP when used within a multimodal approach. Future research should focus on standardized settings including assessment methods, treatment regimens, frequencies, and intensities.

Author: Remer F, Keilani M, Kull P, Crevenna R

Organization: Department of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Occupational Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.

Year: 2023

GID: 6105

Created on: 28.11.2023

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