DG Journal Club
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2022 Apr 2; 23(1): 314
BACKGROUND Non-specific low back pain in children and adolescents has increased in recent years. The purpose of this study was to upgrade the evidence of the most effective preventive physiotherapy interventions to improve back care in children and adolescents.
METHODS The study settings were children or adolescents aged 18 years or younger. Data were obtained from the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, PEDro, Web of Science, LILACS, IBECS, and PsycINFO databases and the specialized journals BMJ and Spine. The included studies were published between May 2012 and May 2020. Controlled trials on children and adolescents who received preventive physiotherapy for back care were considered. Data on all the variables gathered in each individual study were extracted by two authors separately. Two authors assessed risk of bias of included studies using the RoB2 and quality of the body of evidence using the GRADE methodology. Data were described according to PRISMA guidelines. To calculate the effect size, a standardized mean difference “d” was used and a random-effects model was applied for the following outcome variables: behaviour, knowledge, trunk flexion muscle endurance, trunk extension muscle endurance, hamstring flexibility and posture.
RESULTS Twenty studies were finally included. The most common physiotherapy interventions were exercise, postural hygiene and physical activity. The mean age of the total sample was 11.79 years. When comparing the change from baseline to end of intervention in treatment and control groups, the following overall effect estimates were obtained: behaviour d + = 1.19 (95% CI: 0.62 and 1.76), knowledge d + = 1.84 (0.58 and 3.09), trunk flexion endurance d + = 0.65 (-0.02 and 1.33), trunk extension endurance d + = 0.71 (0.38 and 1.03), posture d + = 0.65 (0.24 and 1.07) and hamstrings flexibility d + = 0.46 (0.36 and 0.56). At follow-up, the measurement of the behaviour variable was between 1 and 12 months, with an effect size of d + = 1.00 (0.37 and 1.63), whereas the knowledge variable obtained an effect size of d + = 2.08 (-0.85 and 5.02) at 3 months of follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS Recent studies provide strong support for the use of physiotherapy in the improvement of back care and prevention of non-specific low back pain in children and adolescents. Based on GRADE methodology, we found that the evidence was from very low to moderate quality and interventions involving physical exercise, postural hygiene and physical activity should be preferred.