A three month controlled intervention of intermittent whole body vibration designed to improve functional ability and attenuate bone loss in patients with rheumatoid arthritis
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Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune condition that results in pain and disability. Patients with RA have a decreased functional ability and are forced into a sedentary lifestyle and as such, these patients often become predisposed to poor bone health. Patients with RA may also experience a decreased health related quality of life (HRQoL) due to their disease. Whole body vibration (WBV) is a form of exercise that stimulates bone loading through forced oscillation. WBV has also been shown to decrease pain and fatigue in other rheumatic diseases, as well as to increase muscle strength. This paper reports on the development of a semi randomised controlled clinical trial to assess the impact of a WBV intervention aiming to improve functional ability, attenuate bone loss, and improve habitual physical activity levels in patients with RA. Methods/Design: This study is a semi randomised, controlled trial consisting of a cohort of patients with established RA assigned to either a WBV group or a CON (control) group. Patients in the WBV group will undergo three months of twice weekly intermittent WBV sessions, while the CON group will receive standard care and continue with normal daily activities. All patients will be assessed at baseline, following the three month intervention, and six months post intervention. Main outcomes will be an improvement in functional ability as assessed by the HAQ. Secondary outcomes are attenuation of loss of bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip and changes in RA disease activity, HRQoL, habitual physical activity levels and body composition. Discussion: This study will provide important information regarding the effects of WBV on functional ability and BMD in patients with RA, as well as novel data regarding the potential changes in objective habitual physical activity patterns that may occur following the intervention. The sustainability of the intervention will also be assessed.
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