Vibration Therapy Offers Significant Chronic Pain Relief

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If you suffer from chronic pain, you may find significant relief from a relatively new type of therapy: vibration. University of Florida researchers report that vibration therapy may provide a drug-free, low-cost approach to pain relief for people who live with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia.

Chronic pain may respond to good vibrations

Touch, in its many forms such as rubbing, massage, therapeutic touch, acupressure, among others, has long been known to provide comfort and relief from pain. Vibration is a different kind of touch that is currently being used in some rehabilitation facilities to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, multiple sclerosis, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, and more.

In the current study, the University of Florida researchers applied pain-inducing heat to the forearms of three groups of volunteers: those with fibromyalgia, those with neck and head pain, and those without pain. These three groups were chosen because people who suffer with fibromyalgia and migraine are less efficient at inhibiting pain than are some other individuals.

After applying the heat, the researchers then administered high-frequency vibration to the skin and deep tissues of the arms of all the participants. The volunteers in all three groups experienced a 40 percent reduction in pain when vibration therapy was applied.

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According to Roland Staud, MD, professor of rheumatology and clinical immunology at the University’s College of Medicine, this finding is important for several reasons, including the ability of vibration to provide a significant pain relief effect, and “that it is not associated with great cost.” Staud also pointed out that “this is the first time a nonpainful stimulus has been found to have such an effect in fibromyalgia patients.”

Experts are uncertain why vibration therapy provides this level of relief. Distraction does not seem to be a factor; although about half the participants said the vibration was distracting, people who were not distracted reported the same level of relief as did those who were distracted.

Proximity seems to have a role, however. In another set of tests, the researchers applied heat to one arm and vibration to the opposite arm. In these cases, pain relief was not as significant compared to when vibration was administered to the heat-treated arm.

Results from previous animal studies suggest vibration may inhibit transmission of pain signals from the body to the central nervous system. Further research in humans will hopefully uncover how and why vibration therapy relieves pain and help more individuals who live with chronic pain.

SOURCE:
University of Florida news release

Updated 9/26/2014

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Comments

I have fibro, and this research is very good news for all of us that have it. Something that does not come in a pill form is exciting. I will be watching for the rest of this research....hoping.
If you have an opportunity to try vibration therapy, please let us know about your experience.
I absolutely LOVE it! But you can overdo it, so be aware of that. There are two types of therapeutic vibration therapy: whole body and biomechanical stimulation (BMS) which targets specific areas for treatment. Whole body has been shown to improve performance at many levels, as far back as the mid-1800's when a founding member of the famed Kellogg family of Battle Creek, MI advocated and used whole body vibration as a cure for many muscle and bone ailments. It actually does increase bone density. There are machines on the market today for whole body vibration therapy but be aware that the long term effect seem to indicate spinal damage. With BMS though, this isn't the case. But if you extend your session beyond 15 minutes, I'll wager that you will itch for the next 24 hours! I did and won't again! My chiropractor let me do it, because it just felt so wonderful at the time. He let me learn the hard way, without harming me really, that you can have too much of a good thing! :-) Stick to 10-15 minutes, after you've used a heating pad and enjoy! You CAN do this at home with any good oscillating massage machine, the higher the oscillation rpm's the better, obviously. But bottomline - never forget that exercise and eating right are the BEST course of action for all of us, but especially for those of us afflicted with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. [read Wikipedia's description of vibration therapy, fascinating data]
This makes total sense. If I quickly shake my hands and feet my neuropathy burning pain seems to ease while I am shaking them. Vibration probably does the same sort of thing to the nerves.
That is an interesting observation. Have you tried vibration therapy?
Please stop testing on animals. Use all the intelligence and creativity you have and come up with something that does not interfere with the dignity or harm of any living source. thank you
That's a wonderful message Constance - but you do know we don't test anything, right? Also, this study didn't involve any animals! yaay.
Take out everything in your medicine cabinet .. EVERYTHING, and toss it! No makeup, hair care products either. NONE! Also, you cannot eat eggs, or meats - zero! While you re at it, since I bet you also campaign against oil companies, no car, nothing plastic either, zip, nada, NOTHING! The very food you eat takes oil - to run the tractors to get it out of the ground, to fertilize it, to bring it to your local store for you to consume it. - after you cook it with electric, gas, or coal energy. Now, also remove the computer you communicate this ignorant message upon. We are not inhumane, nor do we do hateful things to animals just to be cruel. It is to save human lives, to make human lives less painful, more joyful. Scientists give you a better life. We help make it more than just a way to survive, but also a way to thrive! And you want us to stop? OK! YOU GO FIRST! [didn't think this one through,did you?]
I just started using a personal handheld massager on chronic pain areas on my hips and thighs, resulting from a serious auto accident. As usual when I overdo walking or stair climbing, my pain flairs up and I could not sleep thru the throbing pain. I tried the $40 amazon massager on these areas for just a short stint, and I was amazed that the pain was relieved enough for me to sleep. Remarkable!! I've been spreading this news to everyone I know and now online.
Veepea: Thanks for sharing this experience with us. I hope it encourages others to consider vibration therapy as a way for them to get pain relief. Wishing you continued success!