Here you will find some articles that I have found of interest and may be of use to your day to day practice. Some of them are just thoughts for the future as the AHP and Physio roles evolve within MSK healthcare and some are just a great update on the evidence and its impact on clinical practice..!
Red Flags & Reliability
Acute low back pain is a common cause for presentation to the emergency department (ED). Since benign etiologies account for 95% of cases, red flags are used to identify sinister causes that require prompt management. They assessed the effectiveness of red flag signs used in the ED to identify spinal cord and cauda equine compression. It was a retrospective cohort study of 206 patients with acute back pain admitted from the ED. The presence or absence of the red flag symptoms was assessed against evidence of spinal cord or cauda equina compression on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Overall, 32 (15.5%) patients had compression on MRI. Profound lower limb neurologic examination did not demonstrate a statistically significant association with this finding. The likelihood ratio (LR) for bowel and bladder dysfunction (sensitivity of 0.65 and specificity of 0.73) was 2.45. Saddle sensory disturbance (sensitivity of 0.27 and specificity of 0.87) had a LR of 2.11. When both symptoms were taken together (sensitivity of 0.27 and specificity of 0.92), they gave a LR of 3.46. Conclusions demonstrtaed that the predictive value of the two statistically significant red flags only marginally raises the clinical suspicion of spinal cord or cauda equina compression. Effective risk stratification of patients presenting to the ED with acute back pain is crucial; however, this study did not support the use of these red flags in their current form.
MODIC Changes in Low Back Pain
The article looks at the Extended scope roles for allied health professionals as a potential strategy that could be undertaken by health care services to meet the ever increasing demands on healthcare and the impact extended scope roles can have on health care services. They performed a systematic review of the literature focusing on extended scope roles in three allied health professional groups, ie, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech pathology. A total of 1,000 articles were identified by the search strategy; 254 articles were screened for relevance and 21 progressed to data extraction for inclusion in the systematic review. The evidence available suggested that extended scope practice allied health practitioners could be a cost-effective and consumer-accepted investment that health services can make to improve patient outcomes.
Tendon Neuroplastic Training
Tendinopathy can be resistant to treatment and often recurs, implying that current treatment approaches are suboptimal. Rehabilitation programmes that have been successful in terms of pain reduction and return to sport outcomes usually include strength training. Muscle activation can induce analgesia, improving self-efficacy associated with reducing one’s own pain. Furthermore, strength training is beneficial for tendon matrix structure, muscle properties and limb biomechanics. However, current tendon rehabilitation may not adequately address the corticospinal control of the muscle, which may result in altered control of muscle recruitment and the consequent tendon load, and this may contribute to recalcitrance or symptom recurrence. Outcomes of interest include the effect of strength training on tendon pain, corticospinal excitability and short interval cortical inhibition. The aims of this concept paper are to: (1) review what is known about changes to the primary motor cortex and motor control in tendinopathy, (2) identify the parameters shown to induce neuroplasticity in strength training and (3) align these principles with tendon rehabilitation loading protocols to introduce a combination approach termed as tendon neuroplastic training. Strength training is a powerful modulator of the central nervous system. In particular, corticospinal inputs are essential for motor unit recruitment and activation; however, specific strength training parameters are important for neuroplasticity. Strength training that is externally paced and akin to a skilled movement task has been shown to not only reduce tendon pain, but modulate excitatory and inhibitory control of the muscle and therefore, potentially tendon load. An improved understanding of the methods that maximise the opportunity for neuroplasticity may be an important progression in how we prescribe exercise-based rehabilitation in tendinopathy for pain modulation and potentially restoration of the corticospinal control of the muscle-tendon complex.
Synopsis Gluteal tendinopathy is now believed to be the primary local source of lateral hip pain, or greater trochanteric pain syndrome, previously referred to as trochanteric bursitis. This condition is prevalent, particularly in post-menopausal women, and has a considerable negative influence on quality of life. Improved prognosis and outcomes in the future for those with gluteal tendinopathy will be underpinned by advances in diagnostic testing, a clearer understanding of risk factors and co-morbidities, and evidence based management programs. High quality studies that meet these requirements are still lacking. This clinical commentary provides direction to assist the clinician with assessment and management of the patient with gluteal tendinopathy, based on currently limited available evidence on this condition and the wider tendon literature, in addition to the combined clinical experience of the authors. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, Epub 17 Sep 2015. doi:10.2519/jospt.2015.5829.