Whole Body Vibration Versus Conventional Physiotherapy to Improve Balance and Gait in Parkinson’s Disease


      Ebersbach G, Edler D, Kaufhold O, Wissel J. Whole body vibration versus conventional physiotherapy to improve balance and gait in Parkinson’s disease.


      To compare the effects of whole body vibration (WBV) and conventional physiotherapy (PT) on levodopa-resistant disturbances of balance and gait in idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD).


      Randomized controlled rater-blinded trial comparing 2 active interventions, final follow-up assessment 4 weeks after termination of active intervention.


      Specialized referral center, hospitalized care.


      Patients with PD and dopa-resistant imbalance on stable dopamine replacement medication (N=27) were randomized (intent-to-treat population) to receive WBV (n=13) or conventional PT (controls, n=14). Twenty-one patients (per protocol population) completed follow-up (14 men, 7 women; mean age, 73.8y; age range, 62–84y; mean disease duration, 7.2y; mean dopa-equivalent dose, 768mg/d).


      Subjects were randomized to receive 30 sessions (two 15-min sessions a day, 5 days a week) of either WBV on an oscillating platform or conventional balance training including exercises on a tilt board. Twenty-one subjects (10 with WBV, 11 controls) were available for follow-up 4 weeks after treatment termination.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The primary measure was Tinetti Balance Scale score. Secondary clinical ratings included stand-walk-sit test, walking velocity, Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (section III motor examination) score, performance in the pull test, and dynamic posturography.


      The Tinetti score improved from 9.3 to 12.8 points in the WBV group and from 8.3 to 11.7 in the controls. All secondary measures, except posturography, likewise improved at follow-up compared with baseline in both groups. Quantitative dynamic posturography only improved in patients with WBV (1937–1467mm) whereas there was no significant change in controls (1832–2030mm).


      Equilibrium and gait improved in patients with PD receiving conventional WBV or conventional PT in the setting of a comprehensive rehabilitation program. There was no conclusive evidence for superior efficacy of WBV compared with conventional balance training.

      Key Words

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