Review article| Volume 97, ISSUE 1, P141-151.e3, January 2016

Physiotherapy Rehabilitation for People With Progressive Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review

Published:August 14, 2015DOI:



      To assess the efficacy of physiotherapy interventions, including exercise therapy, for the rehabilitation of people with progressive multiple sclerosis.

      Data Sources

      Five databases (Cochrane Library, Physiotherapy Evidence Database [PEDro], Web of Science Core Collections, MEDLINE, Embase) and reference lists of relevant articles were searched.

      Study Selection

      Randomized experimental trials, including participants with progressive multiple sclerosis and investigating a physiotherapy intervention or an intervention containing a physiotherapy element, were included.

      Data Extraction

      Data were independently extracted using a standardized form, and methodologic quality was assessed using the PEDro scale.

      Data Synthesis

      Thirteen studies (described by 15 articles) were identified and scored between 5 and 9 out of 10 on the PEDro scale. Eight interventions were assessed: exercise therapy, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, functional electrical stimulation, botulinum toxin type A injections and manual stretches, inspiratory muscle training, therapeutic standing, acupuncture, and body weight–supported treadmill training. All studies, apart from 1, produced positive results in at least 1 outcome measure; however, only 1 article used a power calculation to determine the sample size and because of dropouts the results were subsequently underpowered.


      This review suggests that physiotherapy may be effective for the rehabilitation of people with progressive multiple sclerosis. However, further appropriately powered studies are required.


      List of abbreviations:

      BTX-A (botulinum toxin type A), BWSTT (body weight–supported treadmill training), EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale), FES (functional electrical stimulation), MCID (minimum clinically important difference), MS (multiple sclerosis), PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database), PPMS (primary progressive multiple sclerosis), RRMS (relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis), SPMS (secondary progressing multiple sclerosis)
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