The effects of early physiotherapy treatment on musculoskeletal injury outcomes in military personnel: A narrative review

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Abstract

The risks and incidence rates of musculoskeletal injuries among military personnel are high, and the importance of physiotherapy in treating these injuries is well established. However, what is less clear is whether the timing of commencement of physiotherapy treatment affects musculoskeletal injury outcomes in military personnel. This lack of clarity is exacerbated by the known underreporting of injuries among military personnel, and the resulting self-management of musculoskeletal injuries using analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and other means. This narrative review was designed to identify and synthesize current evidence regarding the effects of timing of physiotherapy treatment on musculoskeletal injury outcomes, focusing on potential benefits of early versus typical or delayed commencement of physiotherapy treatment. Overall, current evidence suggests early physiotherapy treatment of musculoskeletal injuries offers distinct advantages over typical or delayed commencement of physiotherapy treatment in military settings. Specifically, it appears early treatment expedites recovery in early phases following injury onset and benefits longer term mental health and well-being. It may also reduce the need for more invasive and costly health care interventions and enable earlier return to training and operational service. Importantly, a cultural shift within military contexts to ensure early reporting of musculoskeletal injuries is required if the benefits of early commencement of physiotherapy treatment are to be achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13416
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2022

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