Background: The efforts to achieve better functional results in vestibular rehabilitation have been continued by using different visual and somatosensory stimuli for a long time. Whole-body vibration (WBV) is a mechanical vertical stimulation that provides high frequency vibration stimulus to the proprioceptive receptors. Biofeedback provides continuous information to the subject regarding postural changes. These techniques may aid to improve vestibular rehabilitation.
Objective: We aimed to investigate the effect of adding WBV or biofeedback postural training (BPT) to standard rehabilitation exercises in patients with chronic unilateral vestibular weakness.
Methods: Ninety patients were randomized into three groups. Group 1 had WBV and Group 2 BPT in addition to the standard rehabilitation exercises. Group 3 only carried out the home-based exercises and served as the control. Outcome measures such as static posturography, Berg Balance Scale, Timed Up-and-Go test, Visual Analog Scale, and Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI) were used for comparison.
Results: Statistically significant gains were achieved in all groups with all parameters at the end of treatment when compared to baseline (p < 0.05). The patients in Group 1 (WBV), however, were significantly better than those in Groups 2 and 3 at the static posturographic stability score, Berg Balance Scale, and DHI (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Adding WBV to a rehabilitation program may be an effective strategy to improve postural stability and achieve better physical, functional and emotional outcomes.
Keywords: Vestibular rehabilitation; biofeedback; posturography; vestibular weakness; whole body vibration.