One of the most popular questions I get asked regarding vibration exercise is “why should I incorporate vibration into my practice when I can do the same exercises with other rehab devices?” I pretty much asked the same question when I first started with vibration therapy. However, once you begin using it, there are several major benefits of vibration that starts to become evident.
The two key points is that your rehabilitation time can be cut in half, thereby increasing the efficiency of your practice. The other is what i call the WOW factor for the patient. Let’s take for example patellofemoral pain. Rehab wise, we will usually stretch the tight muscles, try activating the vastus medialis through step ups, muscle stimulation, taping, etc. Then we look at providing some sort of deep massage to the muscles that may have adhesions, and finally we try to strengthen the quad. With vibration exercise, all of this can actually be accomplished in as little as 8 minutes. For some doctors using CPT codes of therapeutic exercise, billing for one unit is between 8 and 15 minutes. What is better? A full rehabilitation protocol embedded in 8 minutes or spending about 15 to 25 minutes doing all the above treatment methods?
Second thing Iv’e seen is the WOW factor. Low tech rehabilitation is the right choice for many, as our goal is to transition the patient to self directed active care. But how many patients end up getting a wall squat and stretching program, then take the exercise sheet home thinking they do it at home, and never end up doing it? Then they come back in a few weeks with the same problem. Vibration exercise is not only quick, but it produces immediate effects, whether it be increased circulation, increased mobility, decreased pain, etc. The patient usually ends up coming back into the office on a regular basis since they can see it working.
So in a nutshell, there has to be solid reasons for including vibration exercise in your practice. I believe these two are the most significant in getting the most out of your time, and the increased compliance of your patients.