What is that large machine in the heart of our integrated, multi-disciplinary medical clinic? Some patients say it looks like a large weight scale but patients seem to be doing more than just weighing themselves. Some are laughing, some are intensely focused, some are contorting their bodies in awkward positions but all are being tested for vestibular training to improve motor control and proprioception. One definition of proprioception is awareness of the position in space, and of the relation to the rest of the body, of any body part. Proprioceptive information is essential to the normal functioning of the body’s mechanical control system and is normally acquired unconsciously from sense receptors in the muscles, joints, tendons and balance organ of the inner ear.
This machine is called the Biosway put out by Biodex and is one of the many services offered here at Oahu Spine and Rehab. At our clinic, patients will perform a baseline test early in the treatment stage so that we may track progress or regression in balance/coordination approximately once a month. Patients of all diagnoses can perform the Biosway as long as we feel the patient is physically able to can perform safely. Patients will stand on the platform and enter age and height values. They will have their feet positioned correctly on the platform and to remain in that position during the tests entirety. The patient will be looking at a screen in front of them showing a series of circular targets that they are expected to shift their weight on the platform to move their center of balance cursor on the screen and touch the targets. This will test their proprioception and vestibulomotor levels. At conclusion of the test which takes approximately 5 minutes a score will be registered based on accuracy and speed.
As patients progress toward their treatment at OSR, we see increased strength gains, core stability, postural improvements which will also show in the improved numbers of the Biosway. Many clinics and athletic training rooms are using the Biosway for baseline concussion testing and return to play guidelines. Recent research was done on the effectiveness of the Biosway on balance in college-aged non-athlete females and showed significant improvements in dynamic balance during the training protocol. We feel it is important for patients to physically see improvements with proof by numbers. The Biosway is just another tool in our toolbox here at Oahu Spine and Rehab.