Research into vibration therapy is improving body composition and motor function in children with musculoskeletal disabilities.
One of the major focuses of therapy in children with musculoskeletal disabilities is to increase muscle mass and power, thereby increasing mobility, weight bearing and bone health. Unfortunately, there is a gap in therapeutic interventions aimed at increasing muscle and bone health in this population.
Researchers at the Liggins Institute run clinical trials to better understand the benefits and applicability of vibration therapy in increasing muscle and bone strength as well as muscle function in children and adolescents with physical disabilities.
The trials help to create robust guidelines for the use of vibration therapy, as well as defining the groups, and the length and type of therapy that would benefit the most. The research will hopefully expand the knowledge on vibration therapy efficacy and effectiveness, and be invaluable for informing physiotherapists, families and affected individuals how to utilise this therapy optimally.
Early intervention may be more effective than later intervention in minimizing muscle and bone loss in youth with motor disability. By maintaining muscle mass and bone mineral accrual during growth, vibration therapy could potentially maximize mobility and bone strength into adult life, improving both mobility and quality of life. We are therefore investigating whether individuals with motor disabilities would benefit from the therapy. There is early data suggesting this may be very beneficial but rigorous studies have to be performed.
We have recruited over 120 children in a variety of studies and have had an active involvement with local schools and physiotherapists. We are currently recruiting participants for our studies in congenital myopathy and cerebral palsy. Our first study results were published in 2016 and we are currently working in the publication of three more studies. The results to date show an improvement in motor function and positive changes in body composition and bone strength after vibration therapy.