November 13, 2019

Vibration therapy may help reduce balance problems associated with fibromyalgia

So many times chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia cause problems with daily living that most of us take for granted.  Fibromyalgia is most known for the debilitating pain that it causes, which can greatly impact an individual’s quality of life.  She can be in pain all over her body or in specific areas and be unable to work, go to school, or simply engage in daily activities such as cooking, walking the dog, or playing with a child.  Aside from the pain, however, fibromyalgia is also responsible for decreasing an individual’s balance, especially in women.  Now, according to Reuters, a study has shown how tilt platform vibration may be able to improve overall balance for fibromyalgia patients.

This new study is important because a lack of balance, coupled with crippling pain, can lead to many accidents and falls.  The condition is difficult on its own without having to then worry about falling on top of it.  The researchers noted that approximately half of those individuals living with fibromyalgia suffer with poor balance.  They also knew that tilt platform vibration improved balance, bone mass, and motor skills in elderly individuals, therefore, they wanted to test it with fibromyalgia participants.  The Spanish research team separated forty-one women, ages forty-one to sixty-five, with fibromyalgia into two groups.  Twenty-one were provided with vibration therapy, while the other twenty received their normal treatment regime without the vibration therapy.

Those who received the vibration therapy had three sessions with the platform providing vibration at a low frequency for twelve weeks.  They had a ten minute walking warm-up and up to six repetitions with the tilt platform.  The researchers found that the dynamic balance index improved by thirty-six percent in the vibration therapy group, while it remained the same in the control group.  Additionally and most welcome is that the women who weighed the most and had the worst balance saw the greatest improvement.

The researchers also believe that the vibration therapy slows bone mass loss and improves strength, which helps individuals to respond better to falling or the loss of balance.  They do note that more studies will be needed to see if the vibration therapy also reduces pain associated with fibromyalgia, as well as if the number of overall falls decreases.  If your balance has suffered as a result of fibromyalgia, you may want to discuss this type of physical therapy with your doctor.  It may just help you to better “balance” the effects of this chronic condition.