Authors: Louis Vince Lepak1, Thomas W Allen2, Candace A Robledo3, David M Thompson4
1Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, USA
2 Department of Family Medicine, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, USA
3 Department of Population Health and Biostatistics, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA
4 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, USA
Background. Flexibility is an important component of physical conditioning used to improve performance and prevent injury. The application of vibration is one method that has been reported to increase flexibility. The preponderance of the literature reports the effects of whole-body vibration; fewer studies have investigated the effects of local vibration (LV) therapy.
Aims. To assess if LV affects spinal flexibility, the sit-and-reach test, or lower extremity range of motion measurements when compared to controls. To determine if the effects were specific to the site of LV application and if changes persisted between the follow-up visits.
Methods. Forty-three college students (age range 21-40 years) responded to an email advertisement sent to a college of health professions. All participants underwent the same procedures and positioning but the vibration device was activated for the experimental group participants only. Nine flexibility measurements were obtained at the beginning and end of each of three visits.
Results. Changes in flexibility were statistically significant after LV at each visit except for the sit-and-reach test. No between visit effects or carry-over were observed.
Conclusion. The addition of LV to a training regime can improve flexibility immediately after its application. Although the persistence of the effect is unknown, no long-term effects were observed.
Key words: local vibration, segmental vibration, stretching, range of motion, flexibility