Overview of Cochrane Systematic Reviews for rehabilitation interventions in persons with spinal cord injury: a mapping synthesis



      This paper aims to describe the evidence on rehabilitation interventions for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) identified in Cochrane Systematic Reviews (CSRs) selected for inclusion in the WHO PIR.

      Data Sources

      The CSRs search was led by Cochrane Rehabilitation team, using the tagging process, using the terms “spinal cord injury” and “rehabilitation” in the Cochrane Library.

      Study selection

      We performed an overview of all the CSRs according to the inclusion criteria defined with WHO: rehabilitation interventions in persons with SCI.

      Data extraction

      The CSRs identified after the screening process were summarized using an evidence map, grouping outcomes, and comparisons of included CSRs indicating the effect and the quality of evidence to provide a comprehensive view of what is known.

      Data Synthesis

      Out of 248 CSRs from the past ten years tagged in the Cochrane Rehabilitation database, three were related to SCI. They provide data on 13 outcomes analyzed within 11 comparisons for a total of 64 primary studies, including 2024 participants with SCI. Of these, seven outcomes and one comparison focused on people with cervical SCI. Rehabilitation interventions might improve respiratory outcomes and pain relief in people with SCI. There is uncertainty whether bodyweight-supported treadmill training, robotic-assisted training, and functional electrostimulation affect walking speed and capacity.


      The current evidence needs to be confirmed by better-quality research. Therefore, future priorities are the improvement of methodological quality of the studies in people with SCI, particularly considering the complexity of this health condition. Further, there is a need for more CSRs in the field.


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