Whole body vibration methods with survivors of polio
DaSilva, Carolyn P.
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The purpose of the original study was to examine the use of whole body vibration (WBV) on polio survivors with and without post-polio syndrome as a form of weight bearing exercise. The goal of this article is to highlight the strengths, limitations, and applications of the method used. Fifteen participants completed two intervention blocks with a wash-out period in between the blocks. Each block consisted of twice a week (four weeks) WBV interventions, progressing from 10 to 20 min per session. Low intensity (peak to peak displacement 4.53 mm, frequency 24 Hz, g force 2.21) and higher intensity (peak to peak displacement 8.82 mm, frequency 35 Hz, g force 2.76) WBV blocks were used. Pain severity significantly improved in both groups following higher intensity vibration. Walking speed significantly improved in the group who participated in higher intensity intervention first. No study-related adverse events occurred. Even though this population can be at risk of developing overuse-related muscle weakness, fatigue, or pain from excessive physical activity or exercise, the vibration intensity levels utilized did not cause significant muscle weakness, pain, fatigue, or sleep disturbances. Therefore, WBV appears to provide a safe method of weight bearing exercise for this population. Limitations included the lack of measurement of reflexes, muscular activity, or circulation, the difficulty in participant recruitment, and insufficient strength of some participants to stand in recommended position. Strengths included a standard, safe protocol with intentional monitoring of symptoms and the heterogeneity of the participants in their physical abilities. An application of the methods is the home use of WBV to reduce the barriers associated with going to a facility for weight bearing exercise for longer term interventions, and benefits for conditions such as osteoporosis, particularly for aging adults with mobility difficulties due to paralysis or weakness. Presented method may serve as a starting point in future studies.