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Extremities Feature

Sources: Wikimedia Commons and U.S. Navy

The Latest in Orthopedic Rehabilitation

Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Mon, January 9th, 2017

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A new specialty update was published in the November edition of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. This work, performed at Vanderbilt University, examined evidence from studies published from March 2015 to February 2016 in a variety of journals. The researchers involved were Nitin Jain, M.D., M.S.P.H., John Kuhn, M.D., William Murrell, M.D., and Kristin Archer, Ph.D., D.P.T.

Dr. Archer commented to OTW, “Some of the most important findings of our review include the increased use of novel rehabilitation strategies to reduce pain and increase function in patients with musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, such as whole-body vibration, psychosocial based programs, and cannabinoids.”

“Non-traditional delivery approaches such as telerehabilitation and telephone demonstrate similar or better outcomes than in-person clinic visits. Also, the literature does not support early imaging and early physical therapy for patients with acute low back pain.”

“Larger studies are needed to understand the differences in patient-reported outcomes and cost between operative treatment and non-surgical management for patients with upper extremity disorders.”

Asked about how orthopedic surgeons could increase their understanding of rehab, Dr. Archer noted, “It would be good to have an increased understanding of the impact of patient psychosocial factors on rehabilitation outcomes and health-care resource utilization. A psychosocial risk assessment and a targeted rehabilitation approach has the potential to help those individuals at high-risk for poor outcomes.”

“Our research lab continues to develop and test rehabilitation programs that incorporate self-management, cognitive-behavioral, and mind-body strategies to reduce pain and improve function in patients with acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain. We are particularly interested in understanding the differences in outcomes and cost between telerehabilitation and traditional, in-person clinic programs.”

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