Whole body vibration compared to conventional physiotherapy in patients with gonarthrosis: a protocol for a randomized, controlled study

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common degenerative arthropathy. Load-bearing joints such as knee and hip are more often affected than spine or hands. The prevalence of gonarthrosis is generally higher than that of coxarthrosis. Because no cure for OA exists, the main emphasis of therapy is analgesic treatment through either mobility or medication. Non-pharmacologic treatment is the first step, followed by the addition of analgesic medication, and ultimately by surgery. The goal of non-pharmacologic and non-invasive therapy is to improve neuromuscular function, which in turn both prevents formation of and delays progression of OA. A modification of conventional physiotherapy, whole body vibration has been successfully employed for several years. Since its introduction, this therapy is in wide use at our facility not only for gonarthrosis, but also coxarthrosis and other diseases leading to muscular imbalance. Methods: This study is a randomized, therapy-controlled trial in a primary care setting at a university hospital. Patients presenting to our outpatient clinic with initial symptoms of gonarthrosis will be assessed against inclusion and exclusion criteria. After patient consent, 6 weeks of treatment will ensue. During the six weeks of treatment, patients will receive one of two treatments, conventional physiotherapy or whole-body-vibration exercises of one hour three times a week. Follow-up examinations will be performed immediately after treatment and after another 6 and 20 weeks, for a total study duration of 6 months. 20 patients will be included in each therapy group. Outcome measurements will include objective analysis of motion and ambulation as well as examinations of balance and isokinetic force. The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index and SF-12 scores, the patients' overall status, and clinical examinations of the affected joint will be carried out. Discussion: As new physiotherapy techniques develop for the treatment of OA, it is important to investigate the effectiveness of competing strategies. With this study, not only patient-based scores, but also objective assessments will be used to quantify patient-derived benefits of therapy.

Source: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2474/11/128

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