American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2001;
Motor rehabilitation of spinal cord dysfunction by means of whole body vibration
Gianutsos JG, Oakes LC, Siasoco V, Appelblatt S, Hamel J, Gold JT
Objective: To explore (1) the efficacy of whole body vibration (WBV) in inducing reflex standing and, specifically, (2) the progress of persons with spinal cord dysfunction of 3 differing etiologies.
Design: Case series. Setting: Rehabilitation center in a metropolitan area. Patients: Persons with spinal paralysis of various etiologies who were otherwise unable to stand without the use of long-leg braces locked at the knee.
- Case 1: a 21-year- old man who underwent laminectomy at T2–9 for resection of an intramedullary tumor.
- Case 2: a 12-year-old boy presented with quadriplegia secondary to transverse myelitis.
- Case 3: a 24-year old man with C5 American Spinal Injury Association class A tetraplegia for 5 years secondary to a fall.
Interventions: WBV to produce rapid, mechanically delivered repetitive stretches to the lower extremities, thereby resulting in involuntary muscle contraction.
Main Outcome Measures: Standing time with and without WBV, degree of volitional movement, trunk, and body control, ability to transfer, and carry over to voluntary standing and walking.
Results: All 3 patients were able to stand with minimal assistance and to increase progressively the length of standing time. Eventually, 2 were able to walk independently using various ambulatory aids.
Conclusions: WBV represents a promising modality for use in the rehabilitation of persons with motor dysfunction of spinal origin. In our sample, WBV successfully induced reflex standing in all 3 patients and standing was followed by ambulation in 2 cases.