Physiotherapy clinical guidelines for people with spinal cord injury


Research Framework

Engaging rehabilitation


This project aims to develop clinical guidelines for the physiotherapy management of people with spinal cord injuries. These will provide succinct summaries for physiotherapists and people with spinal cord injury (SCI) about the evidence for different physiotherapy interventions. There are no known similar guidelines that are specifically for physiotherapists. The project partners will be people with SCI, physiotherapists working in SCI services throughout Australia and NZ and senior SCI academics.


A three-phase mixed method study will be used to produce and implement the guidelines:
Phase 1  – Inquiry (qualitative inquiry to understand perspectives and priorities and reasons for types of therapy)
Phase 2 – Guideline development (systematic reviews, consensus meetings, guideline development and launch)
Phase 3 – Implementation (translation of guidelines into practice).

Status of Research

Phase 1 is complete.

Phase 2 is complete.

Phase 3 is underway. Presentations planned across New Zealand and Australia.


Presentation at ANZCoS 2019 in Melbourne by Dr Joanne Glinksy “Development of physiotherapy clinical practice guidelines for people with SCI.”

Nunnerley, J.L., et al.,Developingspinal cord injury physiotherapy clinical practice guidelines: a qualitative study to determine how physiotherapists and people living with spinal cord injury use evidence.Spinal Cord, 2022.

The SCI physiotherapy guidelines can be accessed and downloaded from the website


Funded by a Physiotherapy New Zealand Neuro SIG Award and Physiotherapy New Zealand Scholarship Trust.

Key Contact

Dr Jo Nunnerley,
Burwood Academy 

Phone:  +64 3 383 6871
Mobile:  +64 21 187 2651

Researchers and Collaborators

New Zealand

Dr Jennifer Dunn,
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine.

Verna Stavric,
Auckland University of Technology.


Prof. Lisa Harvey,
John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research,
University of Sydney.

Dr Joanne Glinsky,
John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research,
University of Sydney.