Physical therapy in adult inflammatory myopathy patients: a systematic review.


Department of Rheumatology, University Hospitals Leuven, Herestraat 49, 3000, Leuven, Belgium. [Email]


The safety and effect of physical therapy in adult patients with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) are currently unclear. Considering the muscle weakness resulting from disease activity as well as from the administered drugs, these patients could benefit from an evidence-based physical therapy program. To perform a systematic review to assess safety and effects of physical therapy on the functional outcome of patients with idiopathic inflammatory myopathies in both active and quiescent disease: Pubmed, Embase, and Cochrane. Patients with one of the following idiopathic inflammatory myopathies: polymyositis, dermatomyositis, immune-mediated necrotizing myopathy, and/or overlap myositis. The intervention included several types of rehabilitation programs, from strength and resistance training to endurance training, with a minimal duration of 1 month. Studies reporting intervention-related adverse events, disease activity, and functional outcomes were eligible. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane guidelines. We included five randomized controlled and seven open-label non-randomized non-controlled trials. Data on statistical significance were extracted for all the trials. Included trials were of medium-quality evidence given the low number of patients and some risk of bias factors. Physical therapy does not have a negative effect on the disease activity of idiopathic inflammatory myopathies in quiescent disease and could improve functional outcome. The physical therapy program should minimally include endurance training. A combination with resistance training might be beneficial.


Dermatomyositis,Exercise therapy,Inflammatory myopathy,Physical therapy,Polymyositis,Rehabilitation,