Osteoporosis International

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 1623–1636 | Cite as

Effect of whole body vibration (WBV) therapy on bone density and bone quality in osteopenic girls with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a randomized, controlled trial

  • T. P. Lam
  • B. K. W. Ng
  • L. W. H. Cheung
  • K. M. Lee
  • L. Qin
  • J. C. Y. Cheng
Original Article



The aim of this randomized controlled trial was to determine whether whole body vibration (WBV) therapy was effective for treating osteopenia in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients. Results showed that WBV was effective for improving areal bone mineral density (aBMD) at the femoral neck of the dominant side and lumbar spine BMC in AIS subjects.


AIS is associated with osteopenia. Although WBV was shown to have skeletal anabolic effects in animal studies, its effect on AIS subjects remained unknown. The objective of this study was to determine whether WBV could improve bone mineral density (BMD) and bone quality for osteopenia in AIS subjects.


This was a randomized, controlled trial recruiting 149 AIS girls between 15 and 25 years old and with bone mineral density (BMD) Z-scores <−1. They were randomly assigned to the Treatment or Control groups. The Treatment group (n = 61) stood on a low-magnitude high-frequency WBV platform 20 min/day, 5 days/week for 12 months. The Control group (n = 63) received observation alone. Bone measurement was done at baseline and at 12 months: (1) aBMD and BMC at femoral necks and lumbar spine using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and (2) bone quality including bone morphometry, volumetric BMD (vBMD), and trabecular bone microarchitecture using high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) for nondominant distal radius and bilateral distal tibiae.


The Treatment group had numerically greater increases in all DXA parameters with a statistically significant difference being detected for the absolute and percentage increases in femoral neck aBMD at the dominant leg (0.015 (SD = 0.031)g/cm2, 2.15 (SD = 4.32)%) and the absolute increase in lumbar spine BMC (1.17 (SD = 2.05)g) in the Treatment group as compared with the Control group (0.00084 (SD = 0.026)g/cm2, 0.13 (SD = 3.62)% and 0.47 (SD = 1.88)g, respectively). WBV had no significant effect for other bone quality parameters.


WBV was effective for improving aBMD at the femoral neck of the dominant side and lumbar spine BMC in AIS subjects.


Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis Low bone mass Treatment WBV Whole body vibration therapy 



The authors would like to express their gratitude towards the subjects and their families for participating in this study. We would also like to thank Ms. Fiona W.P. Yu, Ms. Queenie W.Y. Mak, Ms. Christy K.Y. Chan, and the entire research team in carrying out this project.


This study was supported by peer-reviewed General Research Fund, Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong S.A.R., China, (Project no: 467808). Juvent Medical, Inc. (Somerset, New Jersey) supplied 20 WBV platforms, while the rest were procured with the research fund. The funding source and Juvent Medical, Inc. were not involved in the design of the study; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and the decision to approve publication of the finished manuscript.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. P. Lam
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • B. K. W. Ng
    • 1
    • 4
  • L. W. H. Cheung
    • 1
  • K. M. Lee
    • 3
    • 4
  • L. Qin
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. C. Y. Cheng
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics and TraumatologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinChina
  2. 2.Bone Quality and Health Assessment Centre, Department of Orthopaedics and TraumatologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinChina
  3. 3.Lee Hysan Clinical Research LaboratoriesThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinChina
  4. 4.Joint Scoliosis Research Center of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Nanjing UniversityShatinChina
  5. 5.Department of Orthopaedics and TraumatologyPrince of Wales Hospital, 5/F., Clinical Science Building, Prince of Wales HospitalShatin NTChina

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