Physiotherapeutic interventions before and after surgery for degenerative lumbar conditions

Physiotherapeutic management of patients immediately after lumbar spinal surgery is common. However, there is considerable variability in the interventions provided. This review aimed to assess the effect of peri-operative physiotherapeutic intervention in adults undergoing surgery for the management of degenerative lumbar conditions. Four studies were included. There is very-low-quality evidence that pre- and post-operative exercise in addition to standard physiotherapeutic care may decrease pain, time taken to achieve post-operative functional milestones, and post-operative time off work. Results from one study suggested that there is no clear benefit or risk of harm from performing either prone or side-lying transfers.

Very-low-quality evidence indicates that physiotherapy may improve pain and function after lumbar surgery. Due to low numbers of included studies and variation in the interventions assessed, the current evidence offers limited guidance for physiotherapeutic practice. Additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness of physiotherapeutic interventions in this population.