In adults with stroke, does Bobath therapy improve lower limb activity performance, strength or co-ordination when compared with no intervention or another intervention?
Systematic review of randomised trials with meta-analyses.
Adults after stroke.
Bobath therapy compared with another intervention or no intervention.
Lower limb activity performance (eg, sit to stand, walking, balance), lower limb strength and lower limb co-ordination. Trial quality was assessed using the PEDro scale.
Twenty-two trials were included in the review and 17 in the meta-analyses. The methodological quality of the trials varied, with PEDro scale scores ranging from 2 to 8 out of 10. No trials compared Bobath therapy to no intervention. Meta-analyses estimated the effect of Bobath therapy on lower limb activities compared with other interventions, including: task-specific training (nine trials), combined interventions (four trials), proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (one trial) and strength training (two trials). The pooled data indicated that task-specific training has a moderately greater benefit on lower limb activities than Bobath therapy (SMD 0.48), although the true magnitude of the benefit may be substantially larger or smaller than this estimate (95% CI 0.01 to 0.95). Bobath therapy did not clearly improve lower limb activities more than a combined intervention (SMD −0.06, 95% CI −0.73 to 0.61) or strength training (SMD 0.35, 95% CI −0.37 to 1.08). In one study, Bobath therapy was more effective than proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation for improving standing balance (SMD −1.40, 95% CI −1.92 to −0.88), but these interventions did not differ on any other outcomes. Bobath therapy did not improve strength or co-ordination more than other interventions.
Bobath therapy was inferior to task-specific training and not superior to other interventions, with the exception of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. Prioritising Bobath therapy over other interventions is not supported by current evidence.