In the words of one research study on Vibration Therapy, the body “is largely regulated through dynamic physical activity, and is compromised by cessation of physical loading. There is a need to recreate the anabolic effects of loading on the musculoskeletal system, especially in frail individuals who cannot exercise.” This statement sums up the rationale for low intensity vibration (LiV) therapy as a way of treating osteoporosis safely and easily at home. This short article examines how it creates a bone-building response in the body.

Vibration and Bone Health: Examining the Connection

The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (2020) conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial that examined one year of daily vibration treatment (10 minutes/session) for pre-osteoporotic women.

It validated vibration therapy’s effect of triggering a bone-building response within the body, concluding that “vibration therapy is protective against loss in mechanical [bone] strength and, further, the intervention minimizes the shift from the osteoblastic [bone-building] to the adipocytic lineage of mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs].”

A Health Europa article (2021) explained the biofunctional aspect of vibration therapy this way: “Bone responds to both large low-frequency and small high-frequency forces that encourage bone growth and maintain bone health. Low-intensity vibration devices…deliver an exact low-level vibration transmitted at a high frequency to the person standing on the device.” The effect is that the aforementioned MSC stem cells shift back to bone production.

Evidence from earlier clinical study had already concluded that “vibration exercise also increases muscle strength and neuromuscular coordination which in the case of patients with osteoporosis can reduce the risk of falls resulting in broken bones.”

For those facing the pain and danger of osteoporosis – specifically postmenopausal women - low intensity vibration therapy presents a very appealing addition to the dietary, hormone-based, smoking-cessation, and physical exercise measures currently in use.

Vibration therapy is protective against loss in mechanical [bone] strength

A 2020 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research study affirmed the efficacy of low intensity vibration therapy, affirming its value in helping to treat conditions such as osteoporosis. LiV products for home use are already entering the market.

10%

Superior bone mineral density (BMD) among patients who use low-intensity vibration therapy

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Health Europa (2021) reported that a 2-year, peer-reviewed study “involving frail elderly participants showed a 10% greater femoral BMD among those who used low-intensity vibration when compared to the placebo group.” NOTE: Health Europa is supported by advertising, sponsors, and partners.

The potential for bone health for older adults

There are multiple LiV devices now entering the market. One has earned the FDA’s Breakthrough Device designation which accelerates access to medical devices “by speeding up their development, assessment, and review, while preserving the statutory standards for premarket approval.”

As appropriate patients become interested in this form of therapy, it will become more important for medically directed home care professionals to 1. Understand its potential, limitations and any drawbacks. 2. Coordinate in-home usage with the patient’s doctors and care team and 3. Be aware of how different levels of vibration affect patients differently, depending on bone density, body mass, and fragility.

The integrated care management model by SeniorBridge

Home care services vary widely in the services they provide.

SeniorBridge offers an integrated care management practice model that involves two components:

  1. Clinical care (under the direction of an RNCM/Registered Nurse Care Manager) supported by a Social Worker and a team of caregivers, based on patient’s needs and
  2. A portfolio of home care services and geriatric care management in such areas as nutrition, caregiver education, benefit coordination, transportation, and coordination with discharge planners, physicians, pharmacy, home health agencies, and care managers.

NOTE: We have full COVID-19 safety protocols in place to keep clients, families and associates safe.

For more information on medically directed home care, contact SeniorBridge.

Sources consulted:
The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (2020)
Health Europa (2021)
US National Library of Medicine/NIH (2015)
US Food and Drug Administration

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