Background: This article is the first in a series presenting the strongest published evidence for physical and rehabilitation medicine (PRM) to date coming from the Cochrane Collaboration. The intent of the series is to stimulate ideas for reviews and research in neglected areas of PRM.
Aim: To systematically review the rehabilitation contents of the Cochrane Collaboration on disabilities due to spinal disorders or pain syndromes in adults.
Methods: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was searched at the end of June 2013 for articles relevant for PRM about disabilities resulting from spinal disorders or pain syndromes in adults. Retrieved papers were classified according to the PRM approach: active therapies, which require active participation by patients to achieve treatment goals, and passive treatments, which rely on the application of external forces. The quality of the reviews was checked against the AMSTAR checklist.
Results: Reviews on spinal disorders or pain syndromes were found in the Cochrane Back Group (CBG) and in the Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care Group (CPPSCG). Thirty-eight (42.8%) of 89 Cochrane reviews in the CBG and 7 (2.4%) of 293 Cochrane reviews in the CPPSCG were included. All were of high quality (range, 8-11 points out of 11 on the AMSTAR checklist). The contents of the reviews are given in detail.
Conclusion: This review presents an overview of the current evidence for PRM in the treatment of disabilities due to spinal disorders or pain syndromes in adults. Within PRM there is ample space for research in the Cochrane Collaboration and for producing original studies (randomized controlled trials [RCTs]).
Clinical rehabilitation impact: To apply evidence-based clinical practice, clinicians must be familiar with the current best evidence.