Effects of whole body vibration on muscle spasticity for people with central nervous system disorders: A systematic review

Meizhen Huang, Lin Rong Liao, Marco Yiu Chung Pang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To examine the effects of whole-body vibration on spasticity among people with central nervous system disorders. Methods: Electronic searches were conducted using CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, PubMed, PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus and Scopus to identify randomized controlled trials that investigated the effect of whole-body vibration on spasticity among people with central nervous system disorders (last search in August 2015). The methodological quality and level of evidence were rated using the PEDro scale and guidelines set by the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. Results: Nine trials with totally 266 subjects (three in cerebral palsy, one in multiple sclerosis, one in spinocerebellar ataxia, and four in stroke) fulfilled all selection criteria. One study was level 1b (PEDro≥3/46 and sample size>50) and eight were level 2b (PEDro<6 or sample size ≥1/250). All three cerebral palsy trials (level 2b) reported some beneficial effects of whole-body vibration on reducing leg muscle spasticity. Otherwise, the results revealed no consistent benefits on spasticity in other neurological conditions studied. There is little evidence that change in spasticity was related to change in functional performance. The optimal protocol could not be identified. Many reviewed studies were limited by weak methodological and reporting quality. Adverse events were minor and rare. Conclusion: Whole-body vibration may be useful in reducing leg muscle spasticity in cerebral palsy but this needs to be verified by future high quality trials. There is insufficient evidence to support or refute the notion that whole-body vibration can reduce spasticity in stroke, spinocerebellar ataxia or multiple sclerosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Neurological disorders
  • spasticity
  • systematic review
  • whole body vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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