Vibration therapy in patients with cerebral palsy: a systematic review

Ramona Ritzmann, Christian Stark, Anne Krause

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


The neurological disorder cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by unprogressive lesions of the immature brain and affects movement, posture, and the musculoskeletal system. Vibration therapy (VT) is increasingly used to reduce the signs and symptoms associated with this developmental disability. The purpose of this narrative review was systematically to appraise published research regarding acute and long-term effects of VT on functional, neuromuscular, and structural parameters. Systematic searches of three electronic databases identified 28 studies that fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Studies were analyzed to determine participant characteristics, VT-treatment protocols, effect on gross motor function (GMF), strength, gait, posture, mobility, spasticity, reflex excitability, muscle tone, mass, and bone strength within this population, and outcome measures used to evaluate effects. The results revealed that one acute session of VT reduces reflex excitability, spasticity, and coordination deficits. Subsequently, VT has a positive effect on the ability to move, manifested for GMF, strength, gait, and mobility in patients with CP. Effects persist up to 30 minutes after VT. Long-term effects of VT manifest as reduced muscle tone and spasticity occurring concomitantly with improved movement ability in regard to GMF, strength, gait, and mobility, as well as increased muscle mass and bone-mineral density. Posture control remained unaffected by VT. In conclusion, the acute and chronic application of VT as a nonpharmacological approach has the potential to ameliorate CP symptoms, achieving functional and structural adaptations associated with significant improvements in daily living. Even though further studies including adult populations validating the neuromuscular mechanisms underlying the aforementioned adaptations should be fostered, growing scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of VT in regard to supplementing conventional treatments (physiotherapy and drugs). Therefore, VT could reduce CP-associated physical disability and sensorimotor handicaps. Goals for patients and their caregivers referring to greater independence and improved safety may be achieved more easily and time efficiently.
ZeitschriftNeuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment
Seiten (von - bis)1607-1625
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 18.06.2018