Physiotherapy - Research Publications

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    Efficacy and safety of a subacromial continuous ropivacaine infusion for post-operative pain management following arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery: a protocol for a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial.
    Coghlan, JA ; Forbes, A ; Bell, SN ; Buchbinder, R (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2008-04-22)
    BACKGROUND: Major shoulder surgery often results in severe post-operative pain and a variety of interventions have been developed in an attempt to address this. The continuous slow infusion of a local anaesthetic directly into the operative site has recently gained popularity but it is expensive and as yet there is little conclusive evidence that it provides additional benefits over other methods of post-operative pain management. METHODS/DESIGN: This will be a randomised, placebo-controlled trial involving 158 participants. Following diagnostic arthroscopy, all participants will undergo arthroscopic subacromial decompression with or without rotator cuff repair, all operations performed by a single surgeon. Participants, the surgeon, nurses caring for the patients and outcome assessors will be blinded to treatment allocation. All participants will receive a pre-incision bolus injection of 20 mls of ropivacaine 1% into the shoulder and an intra-operative intravenous bolus of parecoxib 40 mg. Using concealed allocation participants will be randomly assigned to active treatment (local anaesthetic ropivacaine 0.75%) or placebo (normal saline) administered continuously into the subacromial space by an elastomeric pump at 5 mls per hour post-operatively. Patient controlled opioid analgesia and oral analgesics will be available for breakthrough pain. Outcome assessment will be at 15, 30 and 60 minutes, 2, 4, 8, 12, 18 and 24 hours, and 2 or 4 months for decompression or decompression plus repair respectively. The primary end point will be average pain at rest over the first 12-hour post-operative period on a verbal analogue pain score. Secondary end points will be average pain at rest over the second 12-hour post-operative period, maximal pain at rest over the first and second 12-hour periods, amount of rescue medication used, length of inpatient stay and incidence of post-operative adhesive capsulitis. DISCUSSION: The results of this trial will contribute to evidence-based recommendations for the effectiveness of pain management modalities following arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery. If the local anaesthetic pain-buster provides no additional benefits over placebo then valuable resources can be put to better use in other ways. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian Clinical Trials Register Number ACTR12606000195550.
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    Efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a physiotherapy program for chronic rotator cuff pathology: A protocol for a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
    Bennell, K ; Coburn, S ; Wee, E ; Green, S ; Harris, A ; Forbes, A ; Buchbinder, R (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2007-08-31)
    BACKGROUND: Chronic rotator cuff pathology (CRCP) is a common shoulder condition causing pain and disability. Physiotherapy is often the first line of management for CRCP yet there is little conclusive evidence to support or refute its effectiveness and no formal evaluation of its cost-effectiveness. METHODS/DESIGN: This randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will involve 200 participants with CRCP recruited from medical practices, outpatient departments and the community via print and radio media. Participants will be randomly allocated to a physiotherapy or placebo group using concealed allocation stratified by treating physiotherapist. Both groups will receive 10 sessions of individual standardised treatment over 10 weeks from one of 10 project physiotherapists. For the following 12 weeks, the physiotherapy group will continue a home exercise program and the placebo group will receive no treatment. The physiotherapy program will comprise shoulder joint and spinal mobilisation, soft tissue massage, postural taping, and home exercises for scapular control, posture and rotator cuff strengthening. The placebo group will receive inactive ultrasound and gentle application of an inert gel over the shoulder region. Blinded assessment will be conducted at baseline and at 10 weeks and 22 weeks after randomisation. The primary outcome measures are self reported questionnaires including the shoulder pain and disability index (SPADI), average pain on an 11-point numeric rating scale and participant perceived global rating of change. Secondary measures include Medical Outcomes Study 36-item short form (SF-36), Assessment of Quality of Life index, numeric rating scales for shoulder pain and stiffness, participant perceived rating of change for pain, strength and stiffness, and manual muscle testing for shoulder strength using a handheld dynamometer. To evaluate cost-effectiveness, participants will record the use of all health-related treatments in a log-book returned to the assessor monthly. To test the effect of the intervention using an intention-to-treat analysis, linear regression modelling will be applied adjusting for baseline outcome values and other demographic characteristics. Participant measures of perceived change will be compared between groups by calculating the relative risks and their 95% confidence intervals at each time point using log binomial regression. DISCUSSION: Results from this trial will contribute to the evidence regarding the effectiveness of a physiotherapy program for the management of CRCP.
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    Improving the outcome of infants born at < 30 weeks' gestation - a randomized controlled trial of preventative care at home
    Spittle, AJ ; Ferretti, C ; Anderson, PJ ; Orton, J ; Eeles, A ; Bates, L ; Boyd, RN ; Inder, TE ; Doyle, LW (BMC, 2009-12-03)
    BACKGROUND: Early developmental interventions to prevent the high rate of neurodevelopmental problems in very preterm children, including cognitive, motor and behavioral impairments, are urgently needed. These interventions should be multi-faceted and include modules for caregivers given their high rates of mental health problems. METHODS/DESIGN: We have designed a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a preventative care program delivered at home over the first 12 months of life for infants born very preterm (<30 weeks of gestational age) and their families, compared with standard medical follow-up. The aim of the program, delivered over nine sessions by a team comprising a physiotherapist and psychologist, is to improve infant development (cognitive, motor and language), behavioral regulation, caregiver-child interactions and caregiver mental health at 24 months' corrected age. The infants will be stratified by severity of brain white matter injury (assessed by magnetic resonance imaging) at term equivalent age, and then randomized. At 12 months' corrected age interim outcome measures will include motor development assessed using the Alberta Infant Motor Scale and the Neurological Sensory Motor Developmental Assessment. Caregivers will also complete a questionnaire at this time to obtain information on behavior, parenting, caregiver mental health, and social support. The primary outcomes are at 24 months' corrected age and include cognitive, motor and language development assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III). Secondary outcomes at 24 months include caregiver-child interaction measured using an observational task, and infant behavior, parenting, caregiver mental health and social support measured via standardized parental questionnaires. DISCUSSION: This paper presents the background, study design and protocol for a randomized controlled trial in very preterm infants utilizing a preventative care program in the first year after discharge home designed to improve cognitive, motor and behavioral outcomes of very preterm children and caregiver mental health at two-years' corrected age. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12605000492651.
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    Using an electrohydraulic ankle foot orthosis to study modifications in feedforward control during locomotor adaptation to force fields applied in stance.
    Noel, M ; Fortin, K ; Bouyer, LJ (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-06-03)
    BACKGROUND: Adapting to external forces during walking has been proposed as a tool to improve locomotion after central nervous system injury. However, sensorimotor integration during walking varies according to the timing in the gait cycle, suggesting that adaptation may also depend on gait phases. In this study, an ElectroHydraulic AFO (EHO) was used to apply forces specifically during mid-stance and push-off to evaluate if feedforward movement control can be adapted in these 2 gait phases. METHODS: Eleven healthy subjects walked on a treadmill before (3 min), during (5 min) and after (5 min) exposure to 2 force fields applied by the EHO (mid-stance/push-off; approximately 10 Nm, towards dorsiflexion). To evaluate modifications in feedforward control, strides with no force field ('catch strides') were unexpectedly inserted during the force field walking period. RESULTS: When initially exposed to a mid-stance force field (FF 20%), subjects showed a significant increase in ankle dorsiflexion velocity. Catches applied early into the FF 20% were similar to baseline (P > 0.99). Subjects gradually adapted by returning ankle velocity to baseline over approximately 50 strides. Catches applied thereafter showed decreased ankle velocity where the force field was normally applied, indicating the presence of feedforward adaptation. When initially exposed to a push-off force field (FF 50%), plantarflexion velocity was reduced in the zone of force field application. No adaptation occurred over the 5 min exposure. Catch strides kinematics remained similar to control at all times, suggesting no feedforward adaptation. As a control, force fields assisting plantarflexion (-3.5 to -9.5 Nm) were applied and increased ankle plantarflexion during push-off, confirming that the lack of kinematic changes during FF 50% catch strides were not simply due to a large ankle impedance. CONCLUSION: Together these results show that ankle exoskeletons such as the EHO can be used to study phase-specific adaptive control of the ankle during locomotion. Our data suggest that, for short duration exposure, a feedforward modification in torque output occurs during mid-stance but not during push-off. These findings are important for the design of novel rehabilitation methods, as they suggest that the ability to use resistive force fields for training may depend on targeted gait phases.
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    The Preventing Australian Football Injuries with Exercise (PAFIX) Study: a group randomised controlled trial
    Finch, C ; Lloyd, D ; Elliott, B (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2009-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: Knee injuries are a major injury concern for Australian Football players and participants of many other sports worldwide. There is increasing evidence from laboratory and biomechanically focused studies about the likely benefit of targeted exercise programmes to prevent knee injuries. However, there have been few international studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of such programmes in the real-world context of community sport that have combined epidemiological, behavioural and biomechanical approaches. OBJECTIVE: To implement a fully piloted and tested exercise training intervention to reduce the number of football-related knee injuries. In so doing, to evaluate the intervention's effectiveness in the real-world context of community football and to determine if the underlying neural and biomechanical training adaptations are associated with decreased risk of injury. SETTING: Adult players from community-level Australian Football clubs in two Australian states over the 2007-08 playing seasons. METHODS: A group-clustered randomised controlled trial with teams of players randomly allocated to either a coach-delivered targeted exercise programme or usual behaviour (control). Epidemiological component: field-based injury surveillance and monitoring of training/game exposures. Behavioural component: evaluation of player and coach attitudes, knowledge, behaviours and compliance, both before and after the intervention is implemented. Biomechanical component: biomechanical, game mobility and neuromuscular parameters assessed to determine the fundamental effect of training on these factors and injury risk. OUTCOME MEASURES: The rate and severity of injury in the intervention group compared with the control group. Changes, if any, in behavioural components. Process evaluation: coach delivery factors and likely sustainability.
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    IMPLEmenting a clinical practice guideline for acute low back pain evidence-based manageMENT in general practice (IMPLEMENT): Cluster randomised controlled trial study protocol
    McKenzie, JE ; French, SD ; O'Connor, DA ; Grimshaw, JM ; Mortimer, D ; Michie, S ; Francis, J ; Spike, N ; Schattner, P ; Kent, PM ; Buchbinder, R ; Green, SE (BMC, 2008-02-22)
    BACKGROUND: Evidence generated from reliable research is not frequently implemented into clinical practice. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines are a potential vehicle to achieve this. A recent systematic review of implementation strategies of guideline dissemination concluded that there was a lack of evidence regarding effective strategies to promote the uptake of guidelines. Recommendations from this review, and other studies, have suggested the use of interventions that are theoretically based because these may be more effective than those that are not. An evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the management of acute low back pain was recently developed in Australia. This provides an opportunity to develop and test a theory-based implementation intervention for a condition which is common, has a high burden, and for which there is an evidence-practice gap in the primary care setting. AIM: This study aims to test the effectiveness of a theory-based intervention for implementing a clinical practice guideline for acute low back pain in general practice in Victoria, Australia. Specifically, our primary objectives are to establish if the intervention is effective in reducing the percentage of patients who are referred for a plain x-ray, and improving mean level of disability for patients three months post-consultation. METHODS/DESIGN: This study protocol describes the details of a cluster randomised controlled trial. Ninety-two general practices (clusters), which include at least one consenting general practitioner, will be randomised to an intervention or control arm using restricted randomisation. Patients aged 18 years or older who visit a participating practitioner for acute non-specific low back pain of less than three months duration will be eligible for inclusion. An average of twenty-five patients per general practice will be recruited, providing a total of 2,300 patient participants. General practitioners in the control arm will receive access to the guideline using the existing dissemination strategy. Practitioners in the intervention arm will be invited to participate in facilitated face-to-face workshops that have been underpinned by behavioural theory. Investigators (not involved in the delivery of the intervention), patients, outcome assessors and the study statistician will be blinded to group allocation.
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    Spinal manipulative therapy versus Graston Technique in the treatment of non-specific thoracic spine pain: design of a randomised controlled trial.
    Crothers, A ; Walker, B ; French, SD (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2008-10-30)
    BACKGROUND: The one year prevalence of thoracic back pain has been estimated as 17% compared to 64% for neck pain and 67% for low back pain. At present only one randomised controlled trial has been performed assessing the efficacy of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) for thoracic spine pain. In addition no high quality trials have been performed to test the efficacy and effectiveness of Graston Technique (GT), a soft tissue massage therapy using hand-held stainless steel instruments. The objective of this trial is to determine the efficacy of SMT and GT compared to a placebo for the treatment of non specific thoracic spine pain. METHODS: Eighty four eligible people with non specific thoracic pain mid back pain of six weeks or more will be randomised to one of three groups, either SMT, GT, or a placebo (de-tuned ultrasound). Each group will receive up to 10 supervised treatment sessions at the Murdoch University Chiropractic student clinic over a 4-week period. Treatment outcomes will be measured at baseline, one week after their first treatment, upon completion of the 4-week intervention period and at three, six and twelve months post randomisation. Outcome measures will include the Oswestry Back Pain Disability Index and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Intention to treat analysis will be utilised in the statistical analysis of any group treatment effects. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was registered with the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry on the 7th February 2008. TRIAL NUMBER: ACTRN12608000070336.
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    The FLASSH study: protocol for a randomised controlled trial evaluating falls prevention after stroke and two sub-studies
    Batchelor, FA ; Hill, KD ; Mackintosh, SF ; Said, CM ; Whitehead, CH (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009-03-31)
    BACKGROUND: Falls are common in stroke survivors returning home after rehabilitation, however there is currently a lack of evidence about preventing falls in this population. This paper describes the study protocol for the FLASSH (FaLls prevention After Stroke Survivors return Home) project. METHODS AND DESIGN: This randomised controlled trial aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-factorial falls prevention program for stroke survivors who are at high risk of falling when they return home after rehabilitation. Intervention will consist of a home exercise program as well as individualised falls prevention and injury minimisation strategies based on identified risk factors for falls. Additionally, two sub-studies will be implemented in order to explore other key areas related to falls in this population. The first of these is a longitudinal study evaluating the relationship between fear of falling, falls and function over twelve months, and the second evaluates residual impairment in gait stability and obstacle crossing twelve months after discharge from rehabilitation. DISCUSSION: The results of the FLASSH project will inform falls prevention practice for stroke survivors. If the falls prevention program is shown to be effective, low cost strategies to prevent falls can be implemented for those at risk around the time of discharge from rehabilitation, thus improving safety and quality of life for stroke survivors. The two sub-studies will contribute to the overall understanding and management of falls risk in stroke survivors. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial is registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN012607000398404).
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    Investing in updating: how do conclusions change when Cochrane systematic reviews are updated?
    French, SD ; McDonald, S ; McKenzie, JE ; Green, SE (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2005-10-14)
    BACKGROUND: Cochrane systematic reviews aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date evidence on the effects of healthcare interventions. The policy of updating Cochrane reviews every two years consumes valuable time and resources and may not be appropriate for all reviews. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of updating Cochrane systematic reviews over a four year period. METHODS: This descriptive study examined all completed systematic reviews in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) Issue 2, 1998. The latest version of each of these reviews was then identified in CDSR Issue 2, 2002 and changes in the review were described. For reviews that were updated within this time period and had additional studies, we determined whether their conclusion had changed and if there were factors that were predictive of this change. RESULTS: A total of 377 complete reviews were published in CDSR Issue 2, 1998. In Issue 2, 2002, 14 of these reviews were withdrawn and one was split, leaving 362 reviews to examine for the purpose of this study. Of these reviews, 254 (70%) were updated. Of these updated reviews, 23 (9%) had a change in conclusion. Both an increase in precision and a change in statistical significance of the primary outcome were predictive of a change in conclusion of the review. CONCLUSION: The concerns around a lack of updating for some reviews may not be justified considering the small proportion of updated reviews that resulted in a changed conclusion. A priority-setting approach to the updating of Cochrane systematic reviews may be more appropriate than a time-based approach. Updating all reviews as frequently as every two years may not be necessary, however some reviews may need to be updated more often than every two years.
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    Effectiveness of balance training exercise in people with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease: protocol for a randomised trial.
    Hill, KD ; LoGiudice, D ; Lautenschlager, NT ; Said, CM ; Dodd, KJ ; Suttanon, P (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-07-16)
    BACKGROUND: Balance dysfunction and falls are common problems in later stages of dementia. Exercise is a well-established intervention to reduce falls in cognitively intact older people, although there is limited randomised trial evidence of outcomes in people with dementia. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate whether a home-based balance exercise programme improves balance performance in people with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease. METHODS/DESIGN: Two hundred and fourteen community dwelling participants with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease will be recruited for the randomised controlled trial. A series of laboratory and clinical measures will be used to evaluate balance and mobility performance at baseline. Participants will then be randomized to receive either a balance training home exercise programme (intervention group) from a physiotherapist, or an education, information and support programme from an occupational therapist (control group). Both groups will have six home visits in the six months following baseline assessment, as well as phone support. All participants will be re-assessed at the completion of the programme (after six months), and again in a further six months to evaluate sustainability of outcomes. The primary outcome measures will be the Limits of Stability (a force platform measure of balance) and the Step Test (a clinical measure of balance). Secondary outcomes include other balance and mobility measures, number of falls and falls risk measures, cognitive and behavioural measures, and carer burden and quality of life measures. Assessors will be blind to group allocation. Longitudinal change in balance performance will be evaluated in a sub-study, in which the first 64 participants of the control group with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease, and 64 age and gender matched healthy participants will be re-assessed on all measures at initial assessment, and then at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. DISCUSSION: By introducing a balance programme at an early stage of the dementia pathway, when participants are more likely capable of safe and active participation in balance training, there is potential that balance performance will be improved as dementia progresses, which may reduce the high falls risk at this later stage. If successful, this approach has the potential for widespread application through community based services for people with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocol for this study is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000040369).