Journal: PLoS ONE 11(4): e0153470, April 2016 – Prioreschi A., Makda M., Tikly M., McVeigh J.
Study Context: Functional ability is often impaired for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Additionally, RA patients often take medication that is known to negatively affect bone mass. This study investigated the effects of whole body vibration (WBV) exercise in patients with stable, established RA.
Subjects were randomly assigned to a control group or a WBV group training for 15 minutes per session, twice per week for 3 months. Participants were assessed for RA disease activity, Quality of life, Physical Activity levels, and bone mineral density.
The WBV protocol had subjects standing barefoot on the vibration platform with knees slightly bent and holding the bar for support. 10 repetitions of 60 seconds were performed (3 mm displacement at 30 Hz) with a 30 second rest interval. This protocol was chosen due to previous findings of beneficial effects on bone density.
After 3 months of vibration training, researchers found that the WBV group had significantly greater functional abilities at 3 and 6 months. Fatigue was significantly improved but only over the study period of 3 months. The control group also lost a significant amount of bone density at the hip whereas the WBV exercise group had no loss of bone mineral density. RA disease activity was unchanged in both groups.
Conclusions: Intermittent WBV training demonstrated sustained improvements in functional ability, for attenuating loss of bone mass at the hip, as well as for decreasing fatigue in patients with established RA.