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, 22 (6), 1150-1160

Benefits of Hippotherapy in Children With Cerebral Palsy: A Narrative Review


Benefits of Hippotherapy in Children With Cerebral Palsy: A Narrative Review

R Martín-Valero et al. Eur J Paediatr Neurol.


Children with cerebral palsy display disorders in pelvic movement and require effective rehabilitation. There is evidence to support the hippotherapy due to improvements in balance. The aim of this narrative review was to summarise the grades of recommendation regarding the benefits of hippotherapy in children with cerebral palsy.

Data sources and extraction: We searched electronic databases, limiting the searches to studies published between 2004 and February 2017. The selected documents were classified according to the strength of recommendation provided by Duodecim (the Finnish medical society). The methodological quality of the selected studies was evaluated using the PEDro scale.

Results: 18 studies (four graded A, eight graded B and six graded C) showed clinical changes in the outcomes of gross motor function, sitting independently, speed of walking, length of stride and postural alignment of the head in children with cerebral palsy. Study quality was poor to good (mean PEDro Score of 6 out of 10). Benefits were identified in relation to psychological factors, as well as positive effects on quality of life and the performance of daily life activities.

Conclusions: Gains were also observed in postural alignment and the balance of head and trunk. Moreover, there were improvements in quality of life and the activities of daily life, such as jumping, balance, strength and ascending and descending stairs.

Keywords: Cerebral palsy; Hippotherapy; Horseback riding therapy; Physical therapy.

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