Effects of whole body vibration on pain, stiffness and physical functions in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Clin Rehabil. 2015 Oct;29(10):939-51. doi: 10.1177/0269215514564895. Epub 2014 Dec 18.


Objective: To assess the effects of whole body vibration for pain, stiffness and physical functions in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Data sources: We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) and EMBASE (up to October 2014) to identify relevant randomized controlled trials. The outcome measures were pain, stiffness and physical functions.

Review methods: Two investigators identified eligible studies and extracted data independently. The PEDro score was used to evaluate the methodological quality of the selected studies. Standard mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated, and heterogeneity was assessed using the I(2) test.

Results: A total of five randomized controlled trials involving 170 patients with knee osteoarthritis met the inclusion criteria. Only four studies involving 144 patients were deemed to be good quality trials (PEDro score = 6-7). Meta-analysis revealed that whole body vibration has a significant treatment effect in Western Ontario and McMaster Universities index physical function score (SMD = -0.72 points, 95% CI = -1.14 to -0.30, P = 0.0008), 12 weeks whole body vibration improved the 6-minute walk test (SMD 1.15 m, 95% CI 0.50 to 1.80, P = 0.0006) and balance (SMD = -0.78 points, 95% CI -1.40 to -0.16, P = 0.01). Whole body vibration was not associated with a significant reduction in Western Ontario and McMaster Universities index pain and stiffness score.

Conclusion: Eight-week and 12-week whole body vibration is beneficial for improving physical functions in patients with knee osteoarthritis and could be included in rehabilitation programs.

Keywords: Knee osteoarthritis; meta-analysis; whole body vibration.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / rehabilitation*
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Vibration / therapeutic use*