Acute Effects of Whole-Body Vibration on Lower Extremity Muscle Performance in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis

Jackson, Kurt J. PT, PhD, GCS; Merriman, Harold L. PT, PhD; Vanderburgh, Paul M. EdD; Brahler, C Jayne PhD

Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy: December 2008 - Volume 32 - Issue 4 - pp 171-176
doi: 10.1097/NPT.0b013e31818ee760

Background and Purpose: Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a relatively new form of exercise training that may influence muscle performance. This study investigated the acute effects of high- (26 Hz) and low- (2 Hz) frequency WBV on isometric muscle torque of the quadriceps and hamstrings in persons with multiple sclerosis.

Participants and Method: Fifteen individuals (mean age = 54.6 years, SD = 9.6) with multiple sclerosis and Expanded Disability Status Scale scores ranging from 0 to 6.5 (mean = 4.2, SD = 2.3) participated in this randomized, crossover study. After baseline measures of isometric quadriceps and hamstring muscle torque, subjects were exposed to 30 seconds of WBV at either 2 or 26 Hz. Torque values were measured again at one, 10, and 20 minutes after vibration. Subjects returned one week later to repeat the same protocol at the alternate vibration frequency.

Results: There were no significant differences in isometric torque production between the 2- and 26-Hz WBV conditions. There was also no significant difference between baseline torque values and those measured at one, 10, and 20 minutes after either vibration exposure. However, there was a consistent trend of higher torque values after the 26-Hz WBV when compared with the 2-Hz condition for both quadriceps and hamstring muscles.

Discussion and Conclusion: Although not statistically significant, peak torque values for both quadriceps and hamstring muscles were consistently higher after 30 seconds of WBV at 26 vs 2 Hz. Whether WBV presents a viable treatment option as either a warm-up activity or a long-term exercise intervention is yet to be determined. Future studies should include a wider variety of WBV parameters and the use of functional outcome measures.

Department of Health and Sports Science, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio.

Address correspondence to: Kurt Jackson, E-mail:

© 2008 Neurology Section, APTA