Ital J Pediatr. 2022 Jul 27;48(1):127. doi: 10.1186/s13052-022-01317-3.
According to the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, somatic symptom and related disorders (SSRDs) are defined as psychopathological manifestations characterized by physical signs not attributable to organic pathology. Their incidence has grown dramatically over the past few decades, and treatment is challenging. Besides other interventions on the child and the family, physiotherapy is considered an integral part of the treatment, although there is no evidence for its efficacy.The study aimed to review the available proof on the effectiveness of physiotherapy in children and adolescents with SSRDs. A systematic literature search was conducted on MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, and PEDro, including 1999 to 2021. The methodological quality of the publications was assessed by applying the guidelines proposed by the Equator network, according to the different study designs. The scientific bibliography on the subject was minimal and had poor methodological quality. The choice of outcome indicators and the scales to measure them varied from study to study and were not standardized, making comparison and meta-analysis challenging.Conclusion: According to the available evidence, it is impossible to answer the review question regarding the effectiveness of physiotherapy in children and adolescents with SSRDs. It is necessary to improve the methodological quality of the studies. Definition of standard rehabilitation treatments, identification of appropriate result indicators, and adoption of standardized evaluation scales are needed.