Effects of vibration on spasticity in individuals with spinal cord injury: a scoping systematic review

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Nov;93(11):995-1007. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000098.


The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate how whole-body vibration (WBV) or focal vibration (FV) would change spasticity in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). A search was conducted of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO electronic databases. A hand search was conducted of the bibliographies of articles and journals relevant to the research question. The inclusion criteria were three or more individuals, 17 yrs or older, with SCI who experience spasticity, and WBV or FV application. The evidence level of all ten identified studies (195 SCI subjects) was low on the basis of Centre for Evidence Based Medicine level of evidence. WBV (n = 1) and FV (n = 9) were applied to assess the effects of vibration on different measures of spasticity in individuals with SCI. FV application resulted in a short-term spasticity reduction lasting for a maximum of 24 hrs. Neurophysiologic measures showed H-reflex inhibition in individuals with SCI after FV application. WBV resulted in a decrease in spasticity lasting for 6-8 days after the last vibration session. WBV and FV might decrease spasticity for a short period, but no evidence-based recommendation can be drawn from the literature to guide rehabilitation medicine clinicians to manage spasticity with vibration application.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Spasticity / etiology
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology
  • Muscle Spasticity / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prognosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult