Whole-body vibration as a modality for the rehabilitation of peripheral neuropathies: implications for cancer survivors suffering from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

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Anna L.J. Verhulst *
Hans H.C.M. Savelberg
Gerard Vreugdenhil
Massimo Mischi
Goof Schep
(*) Corresponding Author:
Anna L.J. Verhulst | a.verhulst@student.maastrichtuniversity.nl


The objective was to study the effect of whole-body vibration (WBV) on strength, balance and pain in patients with peripheral neuropathies and to consider its significance for the rehabilitation of patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). Using a broad search strategy, PubMed was searched for clinical trials on WBV interventions aimed at improving strength, balance or pain in patients with peripheral neuropathies, which were published in English until 5th June 2014. The search was performed by the first author and generated a total of 505 results, which yielded 5 articles that met the inclusion criteria, being studies: i) published in English; ii) involving adult human subjects’ peripheral neuropathies; iii) evaluating the effect of WBV as a therapeutic intervention; and iv) reporting findings for at least one of the following outcomes: strength, balance or pain. Methodological quality of included studies was assessed independently by first and second author, using the physiotherapy evidence database scale. The overall methodological quality of included studies was low. Two studies found a beneficial effect of WBV on neuropathic pain, but another study failed to find the same effect. One study found significant improvements in both muscle strength and balance, while another study found improvements only in some, but not all, of the applied tests to measure muscle strength and balance. The results of this literature search suggest insufficient evidence to assess the effectiveness for the effects of WBV on neuropathic pain, muscle strength and balance in patients with peripheral neuropathies. More high-quality trials are needed to guide the optimization of rehabilitation programs for cancer survivors with CIPN in particular.

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