Objectives: This study evaluated the effectiveness of a 6-week "usual care'' exercise program supplemented with whole-body vibration (WBV) to improve balance and strength in women with fibromyalgia (FM).
Design: This was a randomized controlled study.
Settings: The setting was a physical therapy department in an academic setting.
Subjects: The subjects were 30 postmenopausal women with FM (age: 59+/-7.90 years).
Interventions: Subjects were randomized into one of two groups: an experimental group (EG: n = 15), which combined exercise training (2 days a week) with 3 days of WBV, and a control group (CG: n = 15), who performed the same exercise training program (2 days a week) but without WBV.
Outcome measures: Balance and muscle strength were measured at baseline and after the 6-week intervention.
Results: Significant differences were found (p < 0.05) between the study groups for the Medio-Lateral Stability Index (MLSI), when patients were assessed with their eyes open and closed. The effect size of the improvement was large with eyes closed (R-2 = 0.260) and moderate when the eyes were open (R-2 = 0.047). However, no significant differences were found (p > 0.05) between the study groups for other outcomes.
Conclusions: Women with FM may increase their MLSI by engaging in a 6-week traditional exercise program with supplementary WBV. This may have implications for falls prevention in this patient group.