Objective: To evaluate whether Constraint-Induced Movement therapy (CI therapy) may benefit chronic upper extremity hemiparesis in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).
Methods: Five patients with progressive MS, who had chronic upper extremity hemiparesis and evidence for learned non-use of the paretic limb in the life situation, underwent 30 hours of repetitive task training and shaping for the paretic limb over 2-10 consecutive weeks, along with physical restraint of the less-affected arm and a "transfer package" of behavioral techniques to reinforce treatment adherence.
Results: The patients showed significantly improved spontaneous, real-world limb use at post-treatment and 4 weeks post-treatment, along with improved fatigue ratings and maximal movement ability displayed in a laboratory motor test. Conclusions The findings suggest for the first time that slowly progressive MS may benefit from CI therapy. Further studies are needed to determine the retention of treatment responses.