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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20-34

Evidence-based approach to physical therapy in cerebral palsy

1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Swami Vivekanand National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research, Cuttack, Odisha, India
2 Department of Physiotherapy, Composite Regional Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Mr. G Shankar Ganesh
Department of Physiotherapy, Composite Regional Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Lucknow - 226 017, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ortho.IJOrtho_241_17

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Physiotherapy plays a key role in the management of cerebral palsy (CP) and comprises of various therapeutic interventions in enhancing the various physiological and functional outcomes. Though physiotherapy is used widely and recommended by all members of the health-care team, the effectiveness of physiotherapy is inconsistent. The objective of this review was to summarize and evaluate the effectiveness of physiotherapy interventions in children with CP. PubMed and Cochrane database were searched from January 2006 to April 2017 using the Medical Subject Heading and general keywords. Only systematic reviews and meta-analysis on PT interventions in children diagnosed with CP were included. Two reviewers independently assessed the methodological quality and retrieved the results. Thirty-four systematic reviews were identified that distinguished 15 different interventions. Moderate evidence of effectiveness was found for constraint-induced movement therapy for upper limb recovery, goal-directed/functional training, and gait training to improve gait speed. Conflicting evidence was found for the role of exercises on strength training and cardiorespiratory training. Intervention such as neurodevelopmental therapy (NDT) was found ineffective. This review suffer from limitations such as including reviews that had small sample size and that had considered heterogeneity of treatment interventions. Hence, the effectiveness of most PT interventions is found to be limited. On the basis of the present evidence, functional goal-oriented approaches are found to be effective and future research is required to determine the best ways to improve functional outcomes in children with CP.

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