Physiotherapy Care for Adults with Paraplegia due to Traumatic Cause: A Review

Nalina Gupta, Kavitha Raja


Purpose: This review aimed to identify the practice guidelines/ recommendations for physiotherapy management in acute /post-acute/ chronic/long-term phase of rehabilitation of clients with paraplegia due to traumatic causes.

Methods: Of the 120 articles retrieved, 26 met the inclusion criteria. After quality appraisal, 16 articles were included in the study. Data were extracted under the sub-headings: physiotherapy care in acute, chronic and long-term community stage; expected outcomes; effect of physical interventions; morbidities; wheelchair characteristics and standing.

Results: There is strong evidence in support of strength and fitness training, and gait training. Parameters of strength training (frequency, duration and intensity) vary. There is lack of evidence on passive movements, stretching, bed mobility, transfers and wheelchair propulsion. Preservation of upper limb functions is an important consideration in caring for clients with paraplegia.

Conclusion: Many areas of rehabilitation interventions remain inadequately explored and there is a need for high quality studies on rehabilitation protocols. Client preferences and feasibility are other areas that should be explored.

Limitations: The search criteria of articles in the English language or articles translated in English is a reason for this limitation. Articles related to advanced therapeutic interventions such as robot-assisted training, and transcranial electrical and magnetic stimulation were excluded from the study.


Practice guidelines and paraplegia; standards of care and paraplegia; physiotherapy guidelines and spinal cord injury, physiotherapy care and paraplegia; physiotherapy care and traumatic spinal cord injury; physiotherapy care and traumatic paraplegia

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