Controlled whole body vibration to decrease fall risk and improve health-related quality of life of nursing home residents

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005 Feb;86(2):303-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2004.05.019.


Objective: To investigate the effects of whole body vibration in the elderly.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Nursing home.

Participants: Forty-two elderly volunteers.

Interventions: Six-week vibration intervention plus physical therapy (PT) (n=22) or PT alone (n=20).

Main outcome measures: We assessed gait and body balance using the Tinetti test (maximum scores of 12 for gait, 16 for body balance, 28 for global score), motor capacity using the Timed Up & Go (TUG) test, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36).

Results: After 6 weeks, the vibration intervention group improved by a mean +/- standard deviation of 2.4+/-2.3 points on the gait score compared with no score change in the control group ( P <.001). The intervention group improved by 3.5+/-2.1 points on the body balance score compared with a decrease of 0.3+/-1.2 points in the control group ( P <.001). TUG test time decreased by 11.0+/-8.6 seconds in the treated group compared with an increase of 2.6+/-8.8 seconds in the control group ( P <.001). The intervention group had significantly greater improvements from baseline on 8 of 9 items on the SF-36 compared with the control group.

Conclusions: Controlled whole body vibration can improve elements of fall risk and HRQOL in elderly patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Belgium
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Homes
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life