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Physical therapies as an adjunct to Botulinum toxin-A injection of the upper or lower limb in adults following neurological impairment

Bianca Z Kinnear

Author Affiliations

Occupational Therapist specializing in neurological rehabilitation in HammondCare. Level 2, 447 Kent St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

Systematic Reviews 2012, 1:29  doi:10.1186/2046-4053-1-29

Published: 26 June 2012



Spasticity of muscles is a common consequence of central nervous system impairment. Traditionally, neurological rehabilitation for spasticity has involved occupational and physical therapy; however, increasingly Botulinum toxin–A injections may be provided. Injection effects are temporary. Consequently, understanding the effect of adjunct physical therapies will help inform multimodal rehabilitation decisions. Presently, these effects are not known. This systematic review will identify and summarize evidence on physical therapies used after Botulinum toxin-A injection to improve motor function in adults with neurological impairments.


Systematic searching of seven electronic databases will occur to identify relevant randomized trials. Available trial data will be extracted into a list of pre-defined primary outcomes, including range of movement, spasticity and functional limb use. Pre-defined secondary outcomes will also be reviewed where trials have these data available for reporting. Effects will be expressed as mean differences or standardized mean differences with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Where possible, comparable results will be meta-analyzed, and a summary of the available pool of evidence produced.

All randomized controlled trials will be rated using the PEDro methodological quality scale. Where possible, study data will be meta-analyzed using RevMan 5 Software. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO international prosepective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO 2011:CRD42011001491).


Review results will be the most comprehensive answer available to the following question: Are physical therapies clinically effective after Botulinum toxin-A injections in adults with neurological spasticity? Results will inform healthcare providers and managers who determine who gets access to and provision of Botulinum toxin-A injection and whether this is done with or without physical therapies. Results will inform the clinicians who conduct physical therapy following injection. This protocol provides readers with the scope and depth of a search that will ultimately answer a complex and pressing treatment question. The variability of current practice and high level of expense associated with multimodal rehabilitation means review results will be more useful and less contestable if the protocol is revealed in full through advance publication.

Spasticity; Physical Therapy; Occupational Therapy; Botulinum toxin-A; Neurology; Motor Disorder