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Persistent benefits of rehabilitation on pain and life quality for nonambulatory patients with spinal epidural metastasis

Robert L. Ruff, MD, PhD, et al.

We evaluated the long-term effects of a 2-week course of rehabilitation on people with paraplegia caused by cancer compressing the spinal cord. Twelve patients received rehabilitation that focused on transfers, skin care, bladder and bowel management, nutrition, and incentive spirometry. We compared these study patients with a historical control group of 30 patients who had paraplegia from cancer but did not receive rehabilitation. Subjects were followed until death. The study patients had less pain and depression and more satisfaction with life; these benefits persisted for the remainder of their lives. In contrast, the control patients had worsening pain levels, declining satisfaction with life, and higher pain medication use for the remainder of their lives. While our study suggests that rehabilitation benefits people with cancer-related spinal cord injury, it needs to be supported by a randomized study.


Volume 44 Number 2 2007
Pages 271 — 278


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