Research Output

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

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.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 December 2012

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Cochrane Collaboration

  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    RT Nursing

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    610.73 Nursing


Lee, S. H., Cox, K. M., Grant, R., Kennedy, C., & Kilbride, L. (2012). Patient positioning (mobilisation) and bracing for pain relief and spinal stability in metastatic spinal cord compression in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews,



metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC); patient-centred care; effective treatment; spinal bracing; vertebral collapse;

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