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Effects of Whole Body Vibration Therapy and Classic Physiotherapy on Postural Stability in People With Back Pain

A Randomized Trial

Wegener, Veronika MD*; Rarack, Stephanie MD*,†; Tiffe, Theresa MSc‡,§; Grill, Eva PhD, MPH; Melcher, Carolin MD*; Birkenmaier, Christof MD*; Jansson, Volkmar MD*; Wegener, Bernd MD*

doi: 10.1097/BSD.0000000000000777

Study Design: This 2-step prospective randomized parallel trial evaluated postural stability in 65 back pain participants (61.6±7.9 y) and 50 nonback pain participants (61.2±8.6 y) in a first step using the MFT-S3-Check. In a second step, postural stability and questionnaires were evaluated in back pain participants before and after therapy with either whole body vibration therapy or classic physiotherapy.

Objective: The first aim was to investigate whether the MFT-S3-Check is suitable to evaluate differences in postural stability in back pain and nonback pain participants. The second aim was to evaluate the effect of whole body vibration therapy and classic physiotherapy on postural stability and the influence of depressive symptoms and pain.

Summary of Background Data: Objective bodily measurement values in chronic back pain are rare; therefore, the evaluation of effectiveness of different therapies is difficult.

Methods: Postural stability was investigated using stability-, sensorimotor-, and symmetry indexes, in standing and seated positions with the MFT-S3-Check. The following standard questionnaires were used to investigate pain and depressive symptoms: HADS, ODI, NASS, SF-36.

Results: No significant difference in postural stability was found between back pain participants and the nonback pain group. None of the two training concepts in back pain participants was superior, concerning postural stability and pain. Both treatments showed positive effects, with significant improvements in postural stability in the classic physiotherapy group. Depressive symptoms had a significant correlation with pain intensity in back pain participants.

Conclusions: The MFT-S3-Check could not find a significant difference in postural stability between the back pain and nonback pain group in the study setting. Postural stability improved after treatment.

*Department of Orthopaedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University, Hospital, LMU Munich, Marchioninistraße

MediCenter am Klinikum Bogenhausen, Englschalkinger Straße

Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometrics and Epidemiology, German Center for Vertigo and Balance Disorders, LMU Munich, Marchioninistraße, Munich

§Institute of Clinical Epidemiology and Biometry (ICE-B), Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Petrinistraße, Würzburg, Germany

V.W. and S.R. contributed equally.

Supported by Deutsche Arthrose-Hilfe e.V., a non-profit charity organization.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Veronika Wegener, MD, Department of Orthopaedics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University, Hospital, LMU Munich, Campus Großhadern, Marchioninistraße 15, 81377 Munich, Germany (e-mail:

Received March 14, 2018

Accepted November 26, 2018

© 2019 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.