Reasearch on Whole body vibration - Vitafloor® - beneficial in restoring spinal function and stability, leading to reduced back pain
Whole body vibration (WBV) in humans has been proven to increase muscle activity and strength, improve postural balance and reduce chronic back pain, which led veterinarians to explore the benefits of WBV in the horse. Research participants included nine horses, aged 9 to 19, with clinical signs of back pain and associated lameness. The horses underwent 30 minutes of WBV twice a day, five days a week, for 60 days in addition to their normal exercise routine. The WBV was administered with horses standing quietly on a Vitafloor® VMO vibrating platform which applied vibration to the feet.

The results are very exciting as the authors conclude the following:

1. Significant increase in muscle building was found in the back (m. multifidus) of the participating horses after only 30 and 60 days on the Vitafloor.

2. A statistically significant improvement in m. multifidus symmetry (becoming more symmetrical) after 60 days on the Vitafloor®.
This is important as this is thought to be a key factor in preventing recurrence of back pain in people. Due to the fact that the function and anatomy of m. multifidus in the horse is comparable to that in man, this would also help prevent back pain in horses).

3. Whole Body Vibration may be a valuable alternative to dynamic mobilization exercises.

“From a practical perspective, being able to increase the size of this muscle may play a key role in the treatment and prevention of back pain in the horse, as has been shown in humans. Moreover improvement in muscle symmetry has been suggested to be a sign of the muscle returning to normal and as such improved spinal health.

The importance of spinal health should not be underestimated as data indicates that 74% of horses with primary back pain show lameness and 32% of the horses with a primary limb lameness have back pain. Furthermore WBV can be used in maintaining or even improving muscle mass when horses are laid up for an injury with the usual deconditioning as a consequence. With the current research Vitafloor WBV appears to be an invaluable adjunctive therapy to maintain muscle mass as well as bone density in these horses during their rehabilitation” said Dr. Halsberghe.

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