Whole-body vibration training as a workplace-based sports activity for employees with chronic low-back pain

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2017 Dec;27(12):2027-2039. doi: 10.1111/sms.12852. Epub 2017 Apr 6.


The goal of this randomized and controlled study was to examine whether whole-body vibration (WBV) training is able to reduce back pain and physical disability in seated working office employees with chronic low-back pain in a real-world setting. A total of 41 subjects (68.3% female/mean age 45.5±9.1 years/mean BMI 26.6±5.2) were randomly allocated to an intervention group (INT [n=21]) or a control group (CON [n=20]). The INT participated in WBV training 2.5 times per week for 3 months. The primary outcome was the change in the Roland and Morris disability questionnaire (RMQ) score over the study period. In addition, secondary outcomes included changes in the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), the Work Ability Index Questionnaire, the quality of life questionnaire SF-36, the Freiburger activity questionnaire, and an isokinetic test of the musculature of the trunk. Compliance with the intervention in the INT reached a mean of 81.1%±31.2% with no long-lasting unwanted side effects. We found significant positive effects of 3 months of WBV training in the INT compared to the CON regarding the RMQ (P=.027), the ODI (P=.002), the SF-36 (P=.013), the Freiburger activity questionnaire (P=.022), the post-interventional sick-leave in the INT (P=.008), and trends regarding a positive effect of the intervention on the muscular capacity of the muscles of the trunk in flexion. WBV training seems to be an effective, safe, and suitable intervention for seated working employees with chronic low-back pain.

Keywords: back pain; exercise; musculo-skeletal disorders; occupational health management; prevention; seated working; therapy; vibration training.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Posture
  • Quality of Life
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Sick Leave
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Torso
  • Vibration*
  • Workplace