We speak to Dave Mott—Senior Physiotherapist at Physio Fitness Dorset, in associating with Hypervibe—about the various treatments for decreased mobility, the main causes of joint pain and what vibration therapy can do for you.
There are a number of reasons a person may seek treatments and therapy to resolve joint pain, low mobility or decreased mobility. These conditions can appear for a number of reasons, although some can be linked to old age there are others that can also cause discomfort in the body.
The main causes of low mobility:
• lack of confidence with movement and/or poor balance (with age)
• stiffness due to sedentary lifestyle—underuse of the muscles and joints
• muscle atrophy—muscles wasting with underuse and/or ageing
The main causes of decreased mobility:
• all of the above
• lack of confidence or injury after a fall
• back pain
• arthritis and osteoarthritis
• Parkinsonism and other neurological conditions
• foot pain due to Diabetes
• pulmonary or cardiac conditions leading to a shortness of breath (being unfit)
• inadequate rehabilitation post joint replacement operations
The main causes of joint pain:
• being overweight
• bad diet and/or inadequate nutrients in the diet
• lack of vitamins especially C and D
• stress, depression and anxiety
• joint injuries
• pain following movement if muscles are weak around the joints due to muscle atrophy(muscles wasting with underuse and/or ageing)
• neurological conditions (Parkinsonism, polymyalgia etc.)
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer from the above, your first question is likely to revolve around what types of treatment are available to you and how they differ in terms of intensity. In fact there are numerous treatments that aim to tackle joint and mobility issues. There are two strands of therapy in this field, ones performed by a qualified therapist and others that can be exercised at home:
1. All of the following options would be controlled by a therapist (in order of intensity): physiotherapy, osteopathy, manual massage, alternative therapies such as acupuncture, shiatsu etc.
2. Exercise regimes: an ‘aerobic’ exercise program around walking or light movement exercises to increase fitness levels to facilitate and/or encourage more movement; a strength building program using light weights; both programs would have to be provided by a qualified personal trainer, after approval for exercise was given by the GP.
When considering how vibration therapy compares to other types of physiotherapy in terms of results—when used for gaining muscular strength and stability there is no comparison. Vibration therapy creates involuntary muscular contractions in 95-99% of muscle fibres in any targeted muscle. Compare that to 30% in just the quadriceps when doing a regular squat on a normal surface. Another thing vibration therapy can do for you is envoke the fusimotor system in the brain to stimulate the deep anti-gravity/core muscles of the body. Using a muscle stimulator can also stimulate good muscle fibre activity but only in one muscle at a time. It therefore cannot produce effective ‘co-contraction’ like vibration can. Muscle stimulators cannot stimulate the fusimotor system and perform other functions that vibration therapy can do for you.
See also: Managing Your Weight
Based on a review by Madou KH, Cronin JB, 2009, what vibration therapy can do for you is to improve balance, stability and gait, and physical and physiological properties compared with conventional treatment (resistance training and physiotherapy).
The use of vibration through using a vibration plate is well known (well researched) to stimulate circulation. Another thing vibration therapy can do and a way it can improve your wellbeing is with the production of collagen, which, along with karatin, helps promote improved skin strength and elasticity. Collagen also acts as the primary component for connective tissue and strengthens blood vessels, which can in turn prevent varicose veins from occurring. Regarding the treatment of existing varicose veins this would depend on the particular patient and the severity of the condition. Some patients have shown vast improvements with the treatment and others have not always seen the same results.
From a consumer’s perspective there are particular ways you can ensure the quality of the pain relief technology you are using. In general, the cheaper the equipment, the less likely it is of being effective. Measures such as warranty conditions also help insure the consumer against poor quality products; try to keep this in mind when purchasing.
Many consumers worry that they will need assurance from their GP before undergoing vibration therapy however this is not actually the case. A vibration platform is basically like any other exercise machine, a stationary bike or rowing machine for example and should be used similarly. A physiotherapist is more than capable of prescribing relevant exercises or treatments. If however, there is a contraindication to vibration therapy or the physiotherapist is not happy with the patient’s condition, then contact with the patients GP could and should be made.
Before choosing vibration therapy you should always note that there are a few specific demographics that the treatment is not suitable for. If you have any of the following medical conditions you may not be able to use the equipment: Pregnancy, active cancer, recent fracture, acute inflammation, current blood clots, severe infection and recent surgery.
We would like to thank Dave Mott—Senior Physiotherapist at Physio Fitness Dorset, in association with Hypervibe—for his assistance with this article. Hypervibe is company devoted to Whole Body Vibration; their various vibration machines hold a number of benefits including: muscle pain relief, improved circulation and lymphatic drainage effects along with improved core stability and posture. Hypervibe offers 2-year parts and labour warranty with the motors guaranteed for 10 years. To find out more about Hypervibe visit their website: hypervibe.com/uk
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