Shop Talk

Telerehab 4

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of our telerehab series. Here we’ll summarize the evidence for telerehab for low back pain, spinal stenosis, neck pain,  and arthritis. We lumped these diagnoses together because we found only a small number of articles examining each.  And the upshot is straightforward; telehealth is as good or better than face-to-face care for improving physical functioning, self-efficacy, and quality  of life and for reducing pain and disability. Before we share details, we’d like to ask you a question.

Given that the existing evidence is largely supportive of telerehab for musculoskeletal conditions, why isn’t telerehab more prevalent? 

Feel free to share your ideas by replying to this email, or use Facebook Messenger at sheila.schindlerivens. In a week or so, we’ll summarize your  insights and post to   

Six papers cited in a systematic review by Michelle Cottrell et al. provide the following evidence that telerehab is as effective as face-to-face care for non-surgical musculoskeletal conditions.

As always, you can take a closer look at the evidence by examining the citations below. 

Meanwhile, we look forward to hearing your thoughts about telerehab. 

To learn more, read the systematic review by Cottrell -

Real-time telerehabilitation for the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions is effective and comparable to standard practice: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cottrell MA, Galea OA, O'Leary SP, Hill AJ, Russell TG. Clin Rehabil. 2017 May;31(5):625-638. doi: 10.1177/0269215516645148. Epub 2016 May 2. PMID: 27141087 Review.

Read the articles Cottrell and her team cited -

Telephone-based self-management of osteoarthritis: A randomized trial. Allen KD, Oddone EZ, Coffman CJ, Datta SK, Juntilla KA, Lindquist JH, Walker TA, Weinberger M, Bosworth HB. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Nov 2;153(9):570-9. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-9-201011020-00006. PMID: 21041576 Clinical Trial.

Telephone coaching can increase activity levels for people with non-chronic low back pain: a randomised trial. Iles R, Taylor NF, Davidson M, O'Halloran P. J Physiother. 2011;57(4):231-8. doi: 10.1016/S1836-9553(11)70053-4. PMID: 22093121 Clinical Trial.

The clinical effectiveness of a myofeedback-based teletreatment service in patients with non-specific neck and shoulder pain: a randomized controlled trial. Kosterink SM, Huis in 't Veld RM, Cagnie B, Hasenbring M, Vollenbroek-Hutten MM. J Telemed Telecare. 2010;16(6):316-21. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2010.006005. PMID: 20798425 Clinical Trial.

Is telephysiotherapy an option for improved quality of life in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee? Odole AC, Ojo OD. Int J Telemed Appl. 2014;2014:903816. doi: 10.1155/2014/903816. Epub 2014 Mar 23. PMID: 24778645 Free PMC article.

Effects of telephone intervention on arthritis self-efficacy, depression, pain, and fatigue in older adults with arthritis. Pariser D, O'Hanlon A. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2005;28(3):67-73. PMID: 16386168 Clinical Trial.

Health behavior change counseling in surgery for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis. Part I: improvement in rehabilitation engagement and functional outcomes. Skolasky RL, Maggard AM, Li D, Riley LH 3rd, Wegener ST. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2015 Jul;96(7):1200-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2015.03.009. Epub 2015 Mar 28. PMID: 25827657 Free PMC article. Clinical Trial.

And here’s a bonus article published since the systematic review -

Telephone-Based Intervention to Improve Rehabilitation Engagement After Spinal Stenosis Surgery: A Prospective Lagged Controlled Trial. Skolasky RL, Maggard AM, Wegener ST, Riley LH 3rd. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2018 Jan 3;100(1):21-30. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.17.00418. PMID: 29298257 Free PMC article.


The Evidence Workshop, LLC

April 8, 2021

If you appreciate what we’re doing, please consider supporting our work -