Title

Exercise for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Systematic Review and Critical Synthesis of the Literature

Department

Physical Therapy

Abstract

Purpose: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that can be seen in individuals who sustain major biological stresses, including military veterans. Physical activity has been linked to improve psychological well-being. Therefore, the purpose of this literature review is to examine the effects of exercise on symptoms and functioning associated with PTSD in military veterans.

Method: A systematic literature search was conducted to identify primary research articles that were then graded based on their strength and level of evidence according to Centre for Evidence-based Medicine. Due to low quality of evidence, heterogeneous outcomes measures, and incongruent study designs a critical synthesis of the literature was conducted.

Results: Eight primary research articles were found that documented potential effects of exercise on PTSD (range of evidence grades: 2B-4). Outcomes measures often included responses to surveys and to exercise training. Direct evidence for clinical effects was sparse.

Conclusion: Available evidence suggests that exercise may be a promising type of therapy to address symptoms and functioning. Physical therapists may consider prescribing aerobic exercise for individuals with PTSD. Specifically as part of an overall intervention strategy involving multi-disciplinary teams. This recommendation is not yet confirmed from the available research, and additional clinical studies are necessary

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2017

Publication Title

Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Practice

ISSN

1532-0871

Volume

29

Issue

1

First Page

36

Last Page

43

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