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Short-Term Effects of Whole-Body Vibration on Postural Control in Unilateral Chronic Stroke Patients: Preliminary Evidence

van Nes, Ilse J.W. MD; Geurts, Alexander C.H. MD, PhD; Hendricks, Henk T. MD, PhD; Duysens, Jacques MD, PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: November 2004 - Volume 83 - Issue 11 - pp 867-873
Brief Report: Proprioception

van Nes IJW, Geurts ACH, Hendricks HT, Duysens J: Short-term effects of whole-body vibration on postural control in unilateral chronic stroke patients: Preliminary evidence. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 2004;83:867–873.

The short-term effects of whole-body vibration as a novel method of somatosensory stimulation on postural control were investigated in 23 chronic stroke patients. While standing on a commercial platform, patients received 30-Hz oscillations at 3 mm of amplitude in the frontal plane. Balance was assessed four times at 45-min intervals with a dual-plate force platform, while quietly standing with the eyes opened and closed and while performing a voluntary weight-shifting task with visual feedback of center-of-pressure movements. Between the second and third assessments, four repetitions of 45-sec whole-body vibrations were given. The results indicated a stable baseline performance from the first to the second assessment for all tasks. After the whole-body vibration, the third assessment demonstrated a reduction in the root mean square (RMS) center-of-pressure velocity in the anteroposterior direction when standing with the eyes closed (P < 0.01), which persisted during the fourth assessment. Furthermore, patients showed an increase in their weight-shifting speed at the third balance assessment (P < 0.05) while their precision remained constant. No adverse effects of whole-body vibration were observed. It is concluded that whole-body vibration may be a promising candidate to improve proprioceptive control of posture in stroke patients.

From Sint Maartenskliniek Research, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (IJWvN, ACHG, JD); the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Sint Maartenskliniek, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (IJWvN, ACHG); the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University Medical Centre “St. Radboud,” Nijmegen, the Netherlands (HTH); and the Department of Medical Physics and Biophysics, University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands (JD).

Supported, in part, by the organization for healthcare research in the Netherlands (ZonMw).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Ilse J. W. van Nes, MD, Sint Maartenskliniek Research, P. O. Box 9011, 6500 GM, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.