Evidence is weak on whole-body vibration therapy for osteoporosis

Research Activities, January 2012, No. 377

A new report finds that there is little scientific evidence evaluating the benefits and harms of whole-body vibration (WBV) therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, and claims about its effectiveness cannot be made without further research. The review of the published literature and discussions with osteoporosis clinicians, researchers, patient advocates, and WBV device manufacturers describes the state of the science and summarizes the key issues related to the use of whole-body vibration therapy.

The technical brief, produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Effective Health Care Program, identifies a number of questions about the optimal population for treatment, optimal treatment protocol, key outcome measures, and whether whole-body vibration therapy is an adjunctive or distinctive therapy.

Osteoporosis is a significant public health problem that leads to increased bone fragility and greater fracture risk, especially of the wrist, hip, and spine. In the United States an estimated 1.5 million yearly osteoporotic fractures result in more than 500,000 hospitalizations, 800,000 emergency room visits, 2.6 million physician office visits, and 180,000 nursing home placements. By 2020, approximately half of all older Americans will be at risk for fractures from osteoporosis or osteopenia.

You can read Whole-Body Vibration Therapy for Osteoporosis at AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site at http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/index.cfm/search-for-guides-reviews-and-reports/?pageaction=displayproduct&productid=836&PCem=RA.

Page last reviewed January 2012
Internet Citation: Evidence is weak on whole-body vibration therapy for osteoporosis: Research Activities, January 2012, No. 377. January 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jan12/0112RA28.html