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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2021 Feb 23

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.21.06677-6

Copyright © 2021 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Evidence of rehabilitation therapy in task-specific focal dystonia: a systematic review

Arne HAUTEKIET 1 , Katrien RAES 1, Sybille GEERS 1, Patrick SANTENS 2, Kristine OOSTRA 1

1 Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium; 2 Movement disorders, Neurology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium



INTRODUCTION: Task-specific dystonias are primary focal dystonias characterized by excessive muscle contractions producing abnormal postures during selective motor activities that often involve highly skilled, repetitive movements. Based on the idea of excessive motor excitability and aberrant sensorimotor integration in the pathophysiology of task-specific dystonia, sensorimotor retraining may hold promise. The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate the available evidence about the role of rehabilitation therapy as a treatment for task-specific dystonia.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A systematic review was performed of studies identified through Pubmed and Embase in a structured search strategy by independent author screening. The JBI (Joanna Briggs Institute) Critical Appraisal Checklist and RoB 2 were used to evaluate their methodological quality.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: 21 studies were included for qualitative synthesis. Most of the reports are small single group pre-/post-test study designs with a variability in the type of task-specific dystonia and the type of evaluated outcome measures. Rehabilitation interventions were grouped into six categories based upon the underlying theoretical basis of different approaches: 1) movement practice, 2) training with constraint, 3) sensory reorganization, 4) biofeedback training, 5) neuromodulation with training and 6) compensatory strategies.
CONCLUSIONS: Although it appears that a number of task-specific dystonia patients may improve with rehabilitation therapy, no definitive conclusions can be drawn. More research in this field is needed, using standardized approaches and clearly defined outcome measures in larger cohorts of task-specific dystonia patients that are clinically and diagnostically well characterized.


KEY WORDS: Task specific dystonia; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation; Systematic review

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