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Effective Health Care Program

  • Dec. 8, 2010
    Topic Initiated
  • Dec. 9, 2010
  • Nov. 15, 2011
    Technical Brief
  • Dec. 3, 2012
    Disposition of Comments Report

Whole-Body Vibration Therapy for Osteoporosis

Technical Brief

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Archived: This report is greater than 3 years old. Findings may be used for research purposes, but should not be considered current.

Structured Abstract

Background

Osteoporosis is a skeletal system disease characterized by low bone density and deterioration of bone tissue. Current clinical guidelines recommend dietary and pharmacological interventions and weight-bearing exercise to treat osteoporosis and prevent bone fractures, but these interventions sometimes have low adherence and can cause adverse side effects. Whole-body vibration therapy has been proposed as an alternative or adjunctive intervention, but its role in preventing and treating osteoporosis, and the populations in which it has been studied, is unclear.

Purpose

To provide an overview of the key issues and evidence map related to the use of whole-body vibration therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Methods

To provide an overview of the key issues and evidence map related to the use of whole-body vibration therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

Findings

Very little scientific evidence evaluates the benefits and harms of whole-body vibration therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis; only 12 studies met the inclusion criteria for our review. A number of questions regarding the optimal population for treatment, optimal treatment protocol, key outcome measures, and whether whole-body vibration therapy is an adjunctive or distinctive therapy emerged from the published literature and key informant discussions. Reviewed studies offered little information on potential harms. However, safety concerns emerged from key informant discussions, including unknown long-term harms from the use of whole-body vibration therapy, and the potential inability of consumers to clearly distinguish low-intensity platforms intended for osteoporosis therapy from platforms intended for high intensity exercise. Claims about whole-body vibration therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis cannot be made without further research.

Journal Publications

Slatkovska L, Alibhai SMH, Beyene J, et al. Effect of 12 months of whole-body vibration therapy on bone density and structure in postmenopausal women: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2011 Nov 15;155(10):668-79.