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September, 2010

Shake Things Up With Vibration Exercise

By Jasper Sidhu, BSc, DC

Chiropractors are becoming more aware of vibration exercise therapy. There is significant amount of research coming out regarding this technology. Benefits include such things as strength gains with minimal impact to the joints, increased flexibility, positive effects on bone and circulation and pain reduction. These positive results are achieved by the underlying principle of vibration, which is based on ability to generate an involuntary muscle contraction through the stretch reflex. Patients who may not be able to engage in conventional exercise are able to work out on a vibration platform in pain-free ranges of motion. Although the benefits are numerous, there is still some confusion on how exactly it can be integrated within a chiropractic office. This article takes a look at some of these ways.

Providing A Continuum of Care

Vibration exercise therapy can be seamlessly integrated within a chiropractic office with minimal space requirements. The technology offers the advantage of being implemented within the entire continuum of care. Whatever your type of practice, vibration exercise serves a need and provides benefits for your patient population. The three primary areas of benefit for the patient are within pre- and postadjustment, rehabilitation, and maintenance and wellness care. The majority of chiropractors utilize at least one of these three, while there is a general trend to integrate all three components.

Pre- and Postadjustment Therapy

As chiropractors, we understand the importance of exercise in supporting the long-lasting effects of an adjustment. In addition, various modalities have been used over the years to either prepare the patient for an adjustment or provide a way to stabilize the area after an adjustment. Exercise is even more important these days when more and more sedentary patients are seeking care. A fit patient is a healthy patient. However, it is sometimes difficult to prescribe an office exercise program due to time or space constraints. Vibration exercise is a quick and efficient device that can prepare a patient for an adjustment, or be involved in muscle stabilization following the adjustment. Treatment time can be as little as two minutes to generate a sufficient amount of muscle activation. Flexibility increases are double those of PNF techniques and can result in significant flexibility within a 30-second stretch prior to adjustment. Vibration also results in increased proprioception. We know that loss of proprioception can contribute to neuromuscular dysfunction, decreasing segmental stability and increased risk of injury.

Rehabilitation

Integrating vibration therapy into the rehabilitation phase of care provides the clinician with an efficient, effective technology to accelerate recovery. Current research suggests positive benefits for fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, MS, osteoporosis and post-surgical rehabilitation. This shows that vibration exercise can address the needs of a diverse group of people, from the elderly to the performance athlete. Rehabilitation programs can be accomplished in a fraction of the time of conventional exercise while minimizing space requirements. For those with limited space, a vibration platform can easily be placed in a treatment room or small treatment area. It can be used as a stand-alone modality, allowing a clinician to provide a full rehabilitation program that can take no more than 15 minutes. In these instances, clinicians can bill (where applicable) various CPT codes such as Therapeutic Exercise (97110) for services rendered.

For those with an existing rehabilitation program, vibration exercise can be an enhancement to the clinic's current rehabilitation program. Warm up and cool down can be accomplished in a fraction of the time, increasing the ability to focus on the essential rehabilitation tasks at hand. Patients can initiate a strengthening program much sooner with vibration, thereby allowing for an earlier adoption of exercise. The minimal stress on the joints and ability to work in pain-free ranges of motion accelerates the recovery process and advances the patient faster through the phases of rehabilitation.

Maintenance and Wellness Care

In addition to addressing and treating spinal subluxations, the chiropractic field has expanded into providing wellness care, nutritional counseling and fitness classes. Currently, there has been increased competition in these areas from personal trainers and fitness centers. It is not uncommon to see personal trainers offer rehabilitation or wellness services in the form of functional training, core stability exercises and proprioception training. However, this increased competition also lends itself to increased opportunities. Vibration exercise has the ability to be integrated not only into a treatment process, but also as a stand-alone wellness and maintenance solution.

Some chiropractors are beginning to integrate more than one vibration platform within their practice, allowing patients to continue with their fitness and maintenance goals and create a total wellness solution within their practice. Patients are able to attend the facility postdischarge for long-term solutions. People with osteoporosis, MS and a host of other conditions that require long-term exercise solutions now have an option. Most of these sessions can be done through either a fee per session or a general membership program.

In addition to providing long-term solutions to patients, vibration exercise is rapidly gaining in popularity as a fitness device. The top reasons for preventing someone from engaging in an exercise program are lack of time, embarrassment to go into a fitness setting or inability to actually engage in conventional training. Vibration exercise in a chiropractic office offers individuals the ability to work out in 15 minutes, with no need to change into workout clothes and feeling comforted in knowing that any questions can be handled by the on-site health professional. Chiropractors are able to offer a studio-type environment, allowing them to keep their patients in a fitness and wellness setting rather than losing them to a fitness club.

As vibration continues to gain popularity, more chiropractors will look to integrate this tool within their practice. Knowing the various areas where it can be integrated is crucial to its successful implementation. Whether you utilize it solely as a pre- or postadjustment tool, rehabilitation modality or an integral component of a wellness solution, you can be assured that your patient population will thank you for providing another solution to their needs.


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