Vibrotactile-Based Rehabilitation on Balance and Gait in Patients with Neurological Diseases: A Systematic Review and Metanalysis

Sara De Angelis¹, Alessandro Antonio Princi¹, Fulvio Dal Farra², Giovanni Morone¹, Carlo Caltagirone¹, Marco Tramontano¹,³,*

¹Fondazione Santa Lucia IRCCS, 00179 Rome, Italy
²SOMA-Istituto Osteopatia Milano, 20126 Milan, Italy
³Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome “Foro Italico”, 00185 Rome, Italy

Brain Sciences, 19 Aprile 2021

LINK: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2021.03.013

Abstract

Postural instability and fear of falling represent two major causes of decreased mobility and quality of life in cerebrovascular and neurologic diseases. In recent years, rehabilitation strategies were carried out considering a combined sensorimotor intervention and an active involvement of the patients during the rehabilitation sessions. Accordingly, new technological devices and paradigms have been developed to increase the effectiveness of rehabilitation by integrating multisensory information and augmented feedback promoting the involvement of the cognitive paradigm in neurorehabilitation. In this context, the vibrotactile feedback (VF) could represent a peripheral therapeutic input, in order to provide spatial proprioceptive information to guide the patient during task-oriented exercises. The present systematic review and metanalysis aimed to explore the effectiveness of the VF on balance and gait rehabilitation in patients with neurological and cerebrovascular diseases. A total of 18 studies met the inclusion criteria and were included. Due to the lack of high-quality studies and heterogeneity of treatments protocols, clinical practice recommendations on the efficacy of VF cannot be made. Results show that VF-based intervention could be a safe complementary sensory-motor approach for balance and gait rehabilitation in patients with neurological and cerebrovascular diseases. More high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed.

Keywords

balance rehabilitation; gait rehabilitation; neurological disease; cerebrovascular disease; motor-cognitive; vibrotactile feedback