Patient positioning (mobilisation) and bracing for pain relief and spinal stability in metastatic spinal cord compression in adults

Siew Hwa Lee, Katherine M. Cox, Robin Grant, Catriona Kennedy, Lynn Kilbride*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review



Many patients with metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) have spinal instability but are determined, by their clinician, to be unsuitable for surgical internal fixation due to their advanced disease. Mobilisation may be hazardous in the presence of spinal instability as further vertebral collapse can occur. Current guidance on positioning (or mobilisation) and spinal bracing is contradictory.


To investigate the correct positioning (or mobilisation) and examine the effects of spinal bracing to relieve pain or to prevent further vertebral collapse in patients with MSCC.

Search methods

The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, CANCERLIT, NICE, SIGN, AMED, TRIP, National Guideline Clearinghouse and PEDro database were searched; the last search was run in February 2012.

Selection criteria

We selected randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of adults with MSCC of interventions on positioning or mobilisation and bracing.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently assessed each possible study for inclusion and quality.

Main results

One thousand, six hundred and eleven potentially relevant studies were screened. No studies met the inclusion criteria. Many papers identified the importance of mobilisation but no RCTs have been undertaken. No RCTs of bracing in MSCC were identified.

Authors' conclusions

There is lack of evidence based guidance around how to correctly position and when to mobilise patients with MSCC or if spinal bracing is an effective technique for reducing pain or improving quality of life. RCTs are required in this important area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number007609
Number of pages16
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012




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