A literature review on the effectiveness of different types of manual therapy for treating infants with sleep disturbances.



Background: With many infants suffering from SD and parents receiving conflicting advice on what treatment modality to choose, it is currently unclear whether manual therapy (MT) could help As there is limited knowledge on the role of MT in regards to SD, the author has conducted this review to fulfil this apparent gap within research.

Objectives: a) to retrieve and analyse all available research for the management of SDs in infants, and b) to create awareness of the positive or negative effects of MT in the treatment of SD in infants.

Design: Structured literature review.

Methodology: Using the PICO format, 4 databases were used to retrieve the relevant studies matching the inclusion criteria. The data from all the articles yielded were summarised into a table and their quality of assurance was analysed using two scoring systems: Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT) and DISCERN.

Results: 15 articles were found: 3 RCTs, 4 cohorts, 2 pilots, 1 qualitative and 5 single-case studies. 8 of them were statistically significant, however most of them receiving poor to moderate scores in the scoring systems 7 standard sleep monitoring methods were used. Only 4 studies had follow-up periods post-trial. Only 6 research paper were published in journals receiving an impact factor score. These scores were very low however, with the highest being 2.472.

Discussion: There seems to be no standardised protocol for sleep monitoring, treatment and follow-up period Besides the case studies only 4 trials mentioned the different gender numbers, in which 2 showed a significantly higher proportion of males To decrease bias, more RCTs need to be performed, with higher sample sizes and standardised method procedures.

Conclusion: Even though 8 studies showed statistical significance, this cannot be used as conclusive result, due to lack of quality and increased bias within the studies recruited. However, the promising-.looking results showed that further high quality research needs to be completed in order to have a definitive answer to the question: Can MT influence SD?