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