As we age, many of us fear falling. I have heard plenty of horrifying stories of seniors who fell and were stuck somewhere in our around the house for hours until rescue. The feeling of helplessness is not good.
This fear can be even worse for diabetics due to poor sensation as well as painful diabetic neuropathy. In addition to a higher risk of falls, the potential damage from falling is greater in this group because of poor healing and ulcers that can result from any injuries sustained in the fall.
Just in case this scenario doesn’t sound scary enough, many of the medications used to treat painful diabetic neuropathy will actually further increase the risk of falls. Think gabapentin (Neurontin), pregabalin (Lyrica) and most antidepressants and pain medications. Pretty much covers all the drugs that diabetics use to control nerve pain.
Obviously, anything that can brighten the situation is a good thing. But what if a natural and safe intervention can lower the risk of falls AND help with painful diabetic neuropathy??
Enter the vibration plate machine, also known as whole body vibration. Our office purchased a higher end vibration plate machine way back in 2005, mainly because of this therapy’s positive track record on helping with bone density issues. Since this time the research has expanded (although many clinics offering whole body vibration promote it for things it is not really that good for like weight loss). Much of the research I have come across over the years can be found on our clinic’s whole body vibration page.
This particular study adds some depth to our previous understand of vibration plate exercises. We already have seen that whole body vibration can lower the risk of falls (this article can be read by clicking here).
In this small study, researchers put diabetics on a whole body vibration exercise program 3 times per week for 12 weeks. The results were pretty impressive:
- Those in the control group had a worsening in balance (as measured by Center-of-Pressure, or COP, excursions) over the 12 week period with the eyes open.
- The whole body vibration group? Better balance even with their EYES CLOSED. Pretty impressive.
So, to sum it up, not only is whole body vibration a safe treatment approach for almost all patients, but it:
- Lowers the risk of falls in diabetics by improving balance and
- Vibration plate exercises have been shown to lower the pain experienced by those with painful diabetic neuropathy.
For those of you who don’t have a clinic nearby that offers vibration plate exercises, there are two options for you if you have a condition that whole body vibration is likely to help.
- You can check out some of the whole body vibration units at Amazon.com by clicking here.
- You can contact our office about ordering a unit from Ridge and Company. We have had this unit in our office for patients to try and the results have been good for the price of the unit. Mention this blog post for a $100 discount when ordered through our office.