Is there a role for postoperative physiotherapy in degenerative cervical myelopathy? A systematic review

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Abstract

Objective:

To review peer-reviewed literature relating to postoperative physiotherapy for degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM), to determine efficacy in improving clinical outcome and recovery.

Data sources:

MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, PEDro, ISRCTN registry, WHO ICTRP and Clinicaltrials.gov. References and citations of relevant articles were searched.

Methods:

A systematic search was conducted in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines (PROSPERO CRD42016039511) from the origins of the databases till 15 February 2018. Included were all studies investigating physiotherapy as an intervention after surgical treatment of DCM to determine effect on clinical outcome and recovery. Study quality was determined using the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation guidelines.

Results:

In all, 300 records were identified through tailored systematic searches, after removing duplicates. After screening, only one investigated postoperative rehabilitation using physiotherapy for DCM; however, this was retrospective with no controls. This study suggested that rehabilitation including physiotherapy improved postoperative recovery. There are currently two registered trials investigating the use of postoperative physiotherapy for DCM.

Conclusions:

The literature provides insufficient evidence to make any evidence-based recommendations regarding postoperative physiotherapy use in DCM.

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