A considerable volume of evidence has accumulated to suggest that whole-body vibration (WBV) may have a therapeutic role to play in the prevention of osteoporotic fracture, particularly for individuals who are unable to tolerate vigorous exercise interventions. There is moderate to strong evidence that WBV will prevent falls (likely due to enhanced neuromuscular function), but also some indication that the effects of WBV do not outstrip those of targeted exercise. Animal data indicates that WBV will also improve bone mass, including preventing loss due to hormone withdrawal, disuse and glucocorticoid exposure. Human trials, however, have produced equivocal outcomes for bone. Positive trends are apparent at the hip and spine, but shortcomings in study designs have limited statistical power. The mechanism of the vibration effect on bone tissue is likely to be mechanical coupling between an oscillating cell nucleus and the cytoskeleton. More robust dose-response human data are required before therapeutic guidelines can be developed.
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Dr. Beck states that this article has no conflicts of interests.
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Beck, B.R. Vibration Therapy to Prevent Bone Loss and Falls: Mechanisms and Efficacy. Curr Osteoporos Rep 13, 381–389 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11914-015-0294-8
- Whole-body vibration
- Neuromuscular function