Comparison of a Vibrating Foam Roller vs Non-vibrating Foam Roller on Knee Range of Motion and Pressure Pain Threshold

The use of foam rollers to provide soft-tissue massage has become a common intervention among health and fitness professionals. Recently, manufacturers have merged the science of vibration therapy and foam rolling with the development of vibrating foam rollers. To date, no peer reviewed investigations have been published on this technology.

he purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a vibrating roller and non-vibrating roller intervention on prone knee flexion passive range of motion (ROM) and pressure pain thresholds (PPT) of the quadriceps musculature. Forty-five recreationally active adults were randomly allocated to one of three groups: vibrating roller, non-vibrating roller, and control. Each roll intervention lasted a total of 2 minutes. The control group did not roll. Dependent variables included prone knee flexion ROM and PPT measures. Statistical analysis included parametric and non-parametric tests to measure changes among groups.

The vibrating roller demonstrated the greatest increase in PPT (180kPa, p< 0.001), followed by the non-vibrating roller (112kPa, p< 0.001), and control (61kPa, p<0.001). For knee ROM, the vibrating roller demonstrated the greatest increase in ROM (7 degrees, p< 0.001), followed by the non-vibrating roller (5 degrees, p< 0.001), and control (2 degrees, p<0.001). Between groups, there was significant difference in PPT between the vibrating and non-vibrating roller (p=.03) and vibrating roller and control (p<.001). There was also a significant difference between the non-vibrating roller and control (p<.001). For knee ROM, there was no significant difference between the vibrating and non-vibrating roller (p=.31). A significant difference was found between the vibrating roller and control group (p<.001) and non-vibrating roller and control (p<.001). The results suggest that a vibrating roller may increase an individual’s tolerance to pain greater than a non-vibrating roller. This investigation should be considered exploratory and a starting point for future research on this technology.

Neck Pain

Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.

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