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Vibration therapy in patients with cerebral palsy: a systematic review

Authors Ritzmann R, Stark C, Krause A

Received 28 March 2018

Accepted for publication 1 May 2018

Published 18 June 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 1607—1625

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S152543

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Taro Kishi


Ramona Ritzmann,1 Christina Stark,2,3 Anne Krause4

1
Department of Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; 2Children’s and Adolescent’s Hospital, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany; 3Cologne Centre for Musculoskeletal Biomechanics (CCMB), University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany; 4Institute of Training and Computer Science in Sport, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: spasticity, muscle, gait, posture, reflex, neuromuscular

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