How Safe Is Whole Body Vibration Therapy After A Stroke?
Someone who has just suffered a stroke may require a handful of months or even years to recover completely, and in some cases there are still consequences that unfortunately can not be undone.
The main purpose of rehabilitation after a stroke is, as a result, to help one get back to routine life and live as independent as possible, but in most patients changes in lifestyle as well as in some social and physical parts of life are required for helping improve the quality of life.
Symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue and worry are normal for a stroke survivor, but usually, the sooner rehabilitation begins, the better the chances for recovery.
Typically speaking, the doctor will suggest beginning the rehabilitation treatment in the first 24-48 hours post stroke; postponing is still possible if there’s any risk of problems occurring or if the patient suffers from other conditions that make it a bit risky to start the treatment immediately.
Unfortunately, stroke is one of the leading causes of long-term adult disability and only around 10% of all survivors recover completely, with 25% of them recovering with minor impairments.
Early rehabilitation can assist in improving the recovery and functions, but one may still experience the common consequences of stroke, such as:
Weakness in one or both sides of the body
Muscle stiffness and spasticity
Muscle spasms that are painful
Coordination and balance issues
Pain and difficulties performing normal, day to day tasks
Depending on just how extreme the symptoms are, the treatment may include just physical activities such as therapy for relearning to walk, or in addition, also using an orthosis for stabilizing the body or a walking aid.
The physical exercises will target specific muscles, and try to strengthen them and to improve the motor skills. If the fibers are fragile and weak, electrical stimulation may be suggested for reeducating the muscles and improving the function of the affected limbs.
Furthermore, for reducing spasticity and improving range of motion, stroke survivors may be advised to perform range of motion exercises and flexibility exercises.
These can be done the classical way, with no tools, or on a Whole Body Vibration Machine, which recently seems to be effective in strengthening the muscles and improving balance and posture after a stroke.
Using Whole Body Vibration Machines After A Stroke
If you’re not quite sure what a Whole Body Vibration Machine is, it may seem as an unsafe solution after a stroke, as it works a bit different than traditional physical therapy, and some may think the vibration waves are not safe enough. Nonetheless, there are an assortment of studies that support the use of a Whole Body Vibration Machine in this category of patients.
First and foremost, let’s look at this study conducted by Korean researchers, that displays that Whole Body Vibration exercises can indeed be integrated into a rehabilitation program for stroke survivors. This form of therapy was discovered to be useful in aiding in the muscle tone and function of the upper body muscles.
This study involved the participation of 14 chronic stroke survivors, who performed Whole Body Vibration exercises in a sitting position, prior to occupational therapy.
Each Whole Body Vibration session consisted of 10 minutes of Whole Body Vibration exercises, patients performing 5 sessions per week for a total of 8 weeks. The function of the upper extremity and muscle tone were measured, results indicating the exercising on a Whole Body Vibration Machine prior to therapy can improve muscle tone and function in stroke patients.
The Whole Body Vibration exercises were completed at a frequency of 10-40 Hz, on a linear machine, in a sitting position. Next, after the Whole Body Vibration Machine session, the patients performed 20 minutes of occupational therapy.
Scientists discovered that applying Whole Body Vibration Therapy before the traditional rehabilitation program assisted in improving trunk muscle stability and decreasing muscle stiffness.
Although there’s no standard protocol for Whole Body Vibration Therapy in stroke survivors, and no guarantee that Whole Body Vibration Exercises will lead to the same results in all patients, these research papers are still encouraging.
However, it’s crucial to realize that stroke survivors recover in various ways and that the success of a rehabilitation program depends on the severity of the stroke. For these reasons, our Whole Body Vibration Specialist suggest that you discuss with your physician before adopting a Whole Body Vibration Machine routine as part of a stroke rehabilitation program.
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