Objectives: This study aimed to investigate the effects of whole-body vibration (WBV) training on ankle spasticity, balance, and walking ability in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) at cervical level.
Methods: Twenty-eight patients with cervical iSCI were randomly assigned to WBV (n = 14) or control group (n = 14). WBV group received WBV training, while control group was treated with placebo-treatment. All interventions were given for 20-min, twice a day, 5-days a week for 8-weeks. The spasticity of ankle plantar-flexors was assessed by estimating passive resistive force using a hand-held dynamometer. Balance was analyzed based on postural sway length (PSL) using a force plate. Timed-Up and Go test (TUG) and 10 m-Walk Test (10MWT) were used to assess walking ability.
Results: Both groups showed significant improvements in spasticity, balance and walking ability. Also, the significant differences between two groups were demonstrated in the outcomes of spasticity (3.0±1.7 vs 0.9±1.2), PSL (6.4±1.2 vs 3.2±0.9 with eyes-open, and 15.1±10.9 vs 7.4±4.3 with eyes-closed), TUG (2.3±1.3 vs 1.0±1.0), and 10MWT (3.5±2.3 vs 1.3±1.4).
Conclusions: WBV may be a safe and effective intervention to improve spasticity, balance and walking ability in individuals with cervical iSCI. Thus, WBV may be used to improve these symptoms in clinics.
Keywords: Balance; incomplete spinal cord injury; whole body vibration.