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Vibration Therapy for Osteoporosis

Vibration Therapy for Osteoporosis

In the US, 55% of the people aged 50 and above have low bone mass or osteoporosis issues, especially women. Osteoporosis mostly starts without being noticed until fracture happens. Fracture often happens at the crucial femur bone neck at the hip area.

When human body starts to break down more bone cells than making new ones to replace, the bones become porous – osteoporosis, and the bone density decreases. This condition is also called bone loss.

normal bone compared with osteoporosis bone

Aging, certain medical conditions, medical procedures and medicine are the causes of osteoporosis.

Once developed, bone loss is difficult to reverse. Hormone and physical exercises are used to prevent and treat bone loss.

Vibration therapy brings a good hope to the osteoporosis population.

in this article
  • Mechanical stimulation promotes bone growth
  • How does vibration therapy improve bone density?
  • Clinical Trials - Vibration Therapy for Osteoporosis
  • L-squat vibration exercise for strengthening femoral neck

Mechanical Stimulation Promotes Bone Growth

bone tissue

Bones are living tissues. Old bone cells constantly break down and new bone cells are generated for the replacement.

At young age, our body system is able to generate enough new bone cells to replace the broken-down bone cells. As we get older, this process slows down, and we start to lose our bone density. Certain medical conditions and medicines also impair the bone growth process.

Mechanical stimulation on bones can promote our body system to make more bone cells.

A simple truth is that if bone does not get used (stimulated), it will get deteriorated.

strength training for bone density

Scientific studies have found that muscle strength training is effective to stimulate bone growth, while other forms of physical exercises are not as effective.

The underline reason is that muscle strength training provides the needed magnitude of mechanical stimulation for bone cell generation.

Compared with other forms of physical exercise, muscle strength training requires skeleton muscle to contract more forcefully. The forceful muscle contraction pulls the attached bones. The pulling force is the needed mechanical stimulation that promotes bone cell generation, through signaling growth hormone production and stem cell differentiation.

From cellular process perspective, scientists believe mechanical stimulation on bones, at certain magnitude, can positively influence stem cell differentiation, for instance, to transfer stem cells in bone marrows to bone cells, other than fact cells.

Effective bone growth requires mechanical stimulation to achieve a certain magnitude. Muscle strength training is a solution. Vibration exercise is another solution, probably more efficient and effective, to achieve the required mechanical stimulation magnitude for bone growth.

How Does Vibration Therapy Improve Bone Density?

Vibration Exercise

Vibration can produce a unique mechanical stimulation on bones through inducing rapidly repeated intensive skeletal muscle contraction. Such a stimulation is more efficient and effective in promoting bone cell generation.

Skeletal muscles have a natural stretch reflex response. When stretched, skeletal muscles involuntarily contract to against the stretch. This is our natural response for balance and stability.

Because of this nature, we can use vibration to induce rapidly repeated skeletal muscle contraction. The contraction force pulls the attached bones, stimulating bone cell generation.

When you exercise on a vibration plate, you can introduce vibration to your target muscles and bones through properly designed exercise poses.

For instance, through performing L-squat, you can direct vibration to exercise your muscles around the hip area, promoting bone growth at the femoral neck.

The efficiency and effectiveness come from the two distinctive attributes of vibration movement: frequency and acceleration (G-force).

Frequency brings in fast-pace muscle contraction for efficiency. For instance, on a 30Hz vibration plate, your muscles contract and relax 30 times in a second.

G-force brings in magnitude of workload for effectiveness. For instance, on a vibration plate that moves up at 2G acceleration, the gravity on your body doubled. If you weight 180LB, the gravity on you becomes 360LB, but only for a fraction of a second in each movement cycle.

Attributes Cause Outcome
Fast-pace Vibration Frequency Efficiency
High Magnitude Vibration Acceleration (G-force) Effectiveness

The high magnitude contracting force induced by vibration is in a form of continuously repeated short pules. Each pulse last only a fraction of second. Even at a high magnitude, the force in such a form does not stress the skeletomuscular system.

In other words, vibration therapy achieves high magnitude mechanical stimulation with less exercise effort compared to achieving the same magnitude using regular muscle strength training. This makes vibration therapy more practical for senior people and physically weak people to improve their muscles and bone density.

For vibration to be most effectively transferred from vibration plate to the skeletal muscles, the vibration frequency should be set to achieve resonance effect. Depending on different muscles, the frequency to maximize the vibration transfer is around 30Hz.

Clinical Trials - Vibration Therapy for Osteoporosis

Many small-scale clinical trials have been conducted to study the efficacy of using vibration therapy to treat bone loss. Some randomized, controlled clinical trials have provided quantitative support that BMD (bone mineral density) increase is related to using vibration plate.

GE DEXA Scanner
GE DEXA Scanner

Bone density can be measured using x-ray imaging technology called DEXA Scan (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan). This technology allow scientists to conduct quantitative studies for bone loss treatment and achieve more accurate results.

However, due to limited resource, current clinical trials are constrained on their designs and scales. On the other hand, there are many parameters that need to be tested, each requiring an extended period of time. In general, current clinical trials have not turned out consistent results about vibration therapy's efficacy on bone density improvement.

Although scientific studies are behind, countless vibration therapy users and practitioners reported positive results using vibration plate for bone density increase.

L-Squat Vibration Exercise for Strengthening Femoral Neck

People with osteoporosis have higher risk of femoral neck fracture.

Vibration can be introduced to exercise skeletal muscles around the hip joints and promote femur bone growth.

Gluteal muscles and thigh muscles are the major skeletal muscle groups that connect femur and pelvis. Their contraction produces a pulling force on femur and pelvis, stimulating bone growth on femur, particularly at the femoral neck.

L-squat is the most effective exercise for gluteal muscles and thigh muscles training.

Every one aged 50 and above should perform L‑squat exercise on a linear vibration plate, 5 minutes daily, for maintaining strong hip muscles and femoral necks.

Do it now before it is too late.

Bone density is very difficult to recover once lost.


Bone Health and Osteoporosis Prevention

References

Is Vibration Training Good for Your Bones?
By Jorge Marin-Puyalto, Alba Gomez-Cabello, Alejandro Gonzalez-Agüero, Alejandro Gomez-Bruton, Angel Matute-Llorente, Jose A Casajús, German Vicente-Rodríguez PubMed.gov | PMID: 30519579
Vibration Therapy to Prevent Bone Loss and Falls: Mechanisms and Efficacy
By Belinda R Beck PubMed.gov | PMID: 26456496
Effect of 6-month whole body vibration training on hip density, muscle strength, and postural control in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled pilot study
By Sabine M P Verschueren, Machteld Roelants, Christophe Delecluse, Stephan Swinnen, Dirk Vanderschueren, Steven Boonen PubMed.gov | PMID 15040822

 

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