The effectiveness of 22 commonly administered physiotherapy interventions for people with spinal cord injury

a systematic review

L. A. Harvey*, J. V. Glinsky, J. L. Bowden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Study design: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Objectives: To determine the effectiveness of 22 commonly administered physiotherapy interventions for people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs). Methods: The inclusion criteria contained 22 pairs of key interventions and outcomes. Each intervention and outcome was considered independently such that 22 brief reviews were conducted and summarised in this one paper. The interventions included hand, wheelchair, seated mobility, fitness, strength and gait training, as well as electrical stimulation, passive movements, stretch, cycling, exercise and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Interventions were compared with no or sham treatment, usual care or another physiotherapy intervention. The primary outcome for each review was one of the following: seated mobility, wheelchair mobility, hand function, gait, voluntary strength, joint mobility, fitness and pain. Data were extracted to determine mean between-group differences or risk ratios (95% confidence interval). Where possible, results were pooled in meta-analyses and the strength of evidence rated using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation. Results: Thirty-eight randomised controlled trials met the inclusion criteria and were relevant to 15 of the brief reviews. The following four interventions were clearly effective: fitness, hand and wheelchair training as well as TENS; however, the strength of evidence was not high for any of these interventions. None of the other interventions were clearly effective. Conclusion: There is initial evidence to support four physiotherapy interventions, but there is still a long way to go to put a strong evidence base to the range of physiotherapy interventions commonly used to manage people with SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)914-923
Number of pages10
JournalSpinal Cord
Volume54
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

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