Vibration Massage therapy can bring significant relief for computer RSI suffers. It is relevant for back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and carpal tunnel pain. Vibration therapy works by stimulating your body’s muscles and tendons to work against the vibrations.
This both frees tight muscles and tendons and strengthens them so its a double-win!
Typically it will takes 1 to 5 minutes per session and up to 3 sessions daily so it’s very time efficient for busy lifestyles. You simply stand, sit, lay down with the machine and it exercises your muscles for you!
Vibration therapy was developed during space race times as a means of keeping astronauts in good physical condition in space. Vibration machines are widely used in physiotherapy and also in treating other medical conditions.
Please note: Carpal tunnel sufferers should use ultrasound therapy instead (further down this page)
How does Vibration Therapy work?
Vibration therapy causes your muscles to react against the machine’s movements. If you could see it in slow-motion, when your body moves in one direction, your muscles react to stabilise your body and so there is a continual contraction and stretching of muscles and tendons, increasing blood flow and blood oxygenation. Tight muscles are freed by this action which directly addresses the pain associated with RSI conditions as tight muscles restrict nerves. Without any effort on your part, vibration exercise strengthens and tones muscles and tendons, increase blood flow and bone density and reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that is essential but long-term causes damage. They are highly beneficial for people with physical disabilities, helping them to increase range of motion and coordination and also some auto-immune conditions which attack tendons.
What vibration therapy devices are available?
The two devices that we are particularly interested in for RSI therapies are the Vibration Plate and the Physio Massager.
Vibration plates are plates that vibrate at floor level. They come in different shapes and sizes, sometimes with an upright section that you can hold on to and sometimes just with the bottom plate (which can be easier to accommodate in the home). The principle is that you stand or sit on these machines and the vibrations are transmitted up through your body. Their price usually reflects how much treatment they can deliver. Look for “3D” vibration plates which have more uniform vibrations than 2D oscillators (which can be more like a see-saw action). Weight and motor size is important and the bigger the motor and heavier the better so don’t be surprised at their weight. Although not particularly noisy as such, their vibrations do transmit through floor boards so consider carefully where you site it; solid floors are perfect but not essential.
Professional grade vibration plate machines are used by physiotherapy clinics and gyms and when standing on one of these you will even feel the hair on your head vibrate! These are great for home RSI treatment too!
Home grade vibration plates are smaller. For back, neck and shoulder pain, you will feel most benefit by sitting on the plate and you will feel the vibrations transmit up through your body. Having your hands on the plate too can work well but don’t try this at first as this could be too vigorous!
Physio Massager – home physio!
This physio massager is used by many physiotherapists and we can’t praise it enough! It is approximately 15 inches (45cm) long and a perfect weight for the job at 3.5lb (1.6kg). Don’t be tempted to buy lighter devices, they won’t be effective!
As they work on the principle of stimulating your muscles and tendons which can easily become fatigued when you have been in a fixed posture for a while they are perfect for relieving tight muscles associated with long periods at the PC or laptop and driving cars and lorries.
Use the device on muscle or tendon. Don’t drag a physio massager across your neck while it is running. It is however possible to position this one carefully with its heads on either side of the back of your neck for neck pain relief.
Applying the vibrating head to painful neck, shoulder or arm for 1 or 2 minutes is usually enough to provide much relief.
You can also use one of these in the car if you buy a Car Inverter Power Adapter which converts car battery voltage to mains electrical voltage and has a standard mains socket on it.
Do vibration devices work in practice?
Yes! Our founder uses a vibration plate and a physio massager on a regular basis and has two physio massagers, one is kept together with a 12 volts to mains power-inverter so he can plug it in in the car! To him it has enabled him to drive when his pain would otherwise have prevented him being able to. Vibration devices do take a little getting used to but no more than an electric toothbrush!
Please note – carpal tunnel sufferers: Unlike neck, back, shoulder and elbows which do respond well to vibration therapy, it can exacerbate problems in the wrist. Carpal tunnel sufferers would be better advised to seek help from a Physiotherapist providing Ultrasound Therapy.
Vibration Therapy Buying Guide
Compact 3D Vibration plate
High quality compact 3D vibration plate with wide range of settings.View UK supplier
Deep Tissue Massager
2 speed, 3m cable, non-slip handle. Portable. Excellent therapeutic device with great build quality.View UK supplier
Percussion Massage Gun
3 speed, portable, rechargable Percussion Massage GunView UK supplier
Whole body professional vibration plate
Professional tri-plane clinical use machine with wide range of settings.View UK supplier
Compact Vibration plate
Good home sized whole-body 3D vibration plate with wide range of settings. Max. user weight: 330lbs. Easy to store.
Deep Tissue Massager
6 speed, portable, rechargable Percussion Massage GunView USA supplier
Whole body professional vibration plate machine
Professional tri-plane, clinical use machine with wide range of settings.View USA supplier