Percussive Vibration Therapy

The most effective way to reduce muscle pain and spasm and restore health in you’re muscles!

Percussive vibration therapy

The most common conditions we see here at The Mayfair Clinic are neck & back pain. One of the early symptoms a lot of patients complain of is muscle soreness or tightness. Unfortunately, treating only the muscles through massage or deep tissue work frequently provides little to no lasting relief, and even if it does prove to be good immediately afterwards, working on the muscles alone can even be counter productive if you don’t fully understand the problem. Having said this, working on tired, fatiguing or weak muscles alongside a targeted treatment of the underlying cause can work really well.

We started using percussive vibration as a tool to help patients with some of the muscle pain they were experiencing alongside conditions like sciatica. It’s proven a great addition to The Mayfair Method and provides relief without the need to stretch muscles, or damage them with micro-trauma, as in the case of deep tissue massage techniques.

How does it work?

The percussive vibration therapy is a handheld device used by the practitioner that has different power settings to deliver and continuous percussive vibration to the muscles. Dependant on the condition it may be used on a number of different muscle groups.

The sensation of feeling stiff can also come from our muscles, when the fibres that make up the muscle become shortened and the connecting tissue at the end of the muscle is thickened. In cases where the muscles are still for prolonged periods, little micro-adhesions form between the layers of muscle tissue and “stick” them together, this is why it’s so satisfying to stretch out after a long car journey – you’re literally breaking those sticky adhesions down. The problem for patients is when those adhesions have been there for months or even years. Stretching the muscle is not enough, the thickened tissue needs to be broken down and the muscle stimulated to relax.

Muscles can be tight and shortened or tight and longer than they “should be”, with percussive vibration we can help alleviate muscles by getting them moving in a small way at first, breaking down adhesions and increasing blood flow. Sometimes muscle spasm can play a role in the problem someone is experiencing, and having a very easy way to release the muscle around an injured spinal joint is an important part of the process.

Later on in the treatment cycle we use percussive vibration to help improve blood flow, flexibility & the general health of muscles as they adapt during our rehabilitation phases. For example, if a patient is strengthening their middle back muscles in a home-based exercise program, we can help improve the adaptations that muscle makes, and reduce recovery time by using percussive vibration to target the muscle group throughout the rehab program.

How will it help me?

Benefits of percussive vibration therapy

  • Increase blood flow 2
  • Break down scar tissue and adhesions
  • Increase range of motion 1
  • Reduce muscular pain and inflammation 3, 4
  • Relaxes thickened connective tissue

When muscle or tendon tissue is thickened it loses its elasticity and becomes rough and rope-like, the adhesions needs to be broken down to restore its healthy state, so that the layers of muscle can glide effortlessly over one another.  The main effects of the treatment are to release these thickened connective tissue adhesions, making your muscles feel looser and more free. This will then stimulate contraction of the muscle fibres, which improves the muscles function.

It increases blood flow to help flush out waste products in the affected area and also bring more nutrients like oxygen and water to stimulate a healing response. Percussion doesn’t cause an inflammatory response, so the treatment feels pain free, although some patients find it slightly ticklish in specific areas, our percussive vibration therapy uses different vibration intensities that can be adjusted to the patients comfort.

Once the muscles are more healthy, the joint mobility begins to normalise which is key to recovery as our bodies are made to move. Allowing this improvement in range of motion through functional movement benefits the spine too, as the percussive vibration stimulates the nerves in the spine. When we start to work on the spinal joints with our other treatment modalities, the spine is ready to be realigned effortlessly.

Like our other therapies, percussion is precise, controlled and adjustable. We are able to deliver beneficial effects far in excess of a full body massage in a shorter space of time without the patient having to disrobe or making you feel sore after the treatment.

It gives similar effects to massage, however the vibration machine can go as high as 3600 percussion’s a minute.

References

  1. Will whole-body vibration training help increase the range of motion of the hamstrings? Van den Tillaar. Journal of strength and conditioning research 2006.
  2. Whole-Body Vibration and Blood Flow and Muscle Oxygenation: A Meta-Analysis. Kenneth E. Games, PhD, LAT, ATC*; JoEllen M. Sefton, PhD, LAT, ATC, CMT†; Alan E. Wilson, PhD. Journal of athletic training. 2015.
  3. To Compare the Effect of Vibration Therapy and Massage in Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Shagufta Imtiyaz, Zubia Veqar, and M.Y. Shareef. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research. 2014.
  4. Vibration therapy reduces plasma IL6 and muscle soreness after downhill running. S Broadbent, J J Rousseau, R M Thorp, S L Choate, F S Jackson, D S Rowlands. British journal of sports medicine. 2008.