Sitting balance dysfunction is commonly experienced following stroke. Physiotherapists utilize interventions to address this problem but it is unclear whether treatment type, target or practice intensity may affect outcomes.
To compare the effects of standard physiotherapy to standard physiotherapy plus an additional physiotherapy treatment after stroke.
The databases of Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Embase, Ovid Medline, AMED, and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) up to December 2014 were searched.
Randomized controlled trials in English reported in peer-reviewed journals regarding the effect of additional physiotherapy on sitting balance were retrieved.
The PEDro scale was used to assess study quality.
Eleven studies met inclusion criteria. Nine targeted the ICF (International Classification of Function, Disability and Health) domain of Activity. The Trunk control test (TCT) was used as a primary outcome measure in five studies, and the Trunk Impairment Scale (TIS) was used in four. There was a significant effect (mean difference = 1.67, 95% CI = 0.54–2.80) favoring intervention, as measured by the TIS. There was no evidence to support the effect of additional treatment on sitting balance as measured by the TCT (mean difference = − 1.53, 95% CI = − 9.37 to 6.32).
The current evidence supports strategies that target deficits at the activity level and increase total treatment time. The TIS is most responsive as a measure of treatment efficacy. Further research is required using recommended outcome measures to facilitate generation of a minimum data set and data pooling.