Summary of comprehensive systematic review: Rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis: Report of the Guideline Development, Dissemination, and Implementation Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology

Neurology. 2015 Nov 24;85(21):1896-903. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002146.


Objective: To systematically review the evidence regarding rehabilitation treatments in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: We systematically searched the literature (1970-2013) and classified articles using 2004 American Academy of Neurology criteria.

Results: This systematic review highlights the paucity of well-designed studies, which are needed to evaluate the available MS rehabilitative therapies. Weekly home/outpatient physical therapy (8 weeks) probably is effective for improving balance, disability, and gait (MS type unspecified, participants able to walk ≥5 meters) but probably is ineffective for improving upper extremity dexterity (1 Class I). Inpatient exercises (3 weeks) followed by home exercises (15 weeks) possibly are effective for improving disability (relapsing-remitting MS [RRMS], primary progressive MS [PPMS], secondary progressive MS [SPMS], Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] 3.0-6.5) (1 Class II). Six weeks' worth of comprehensive multidisciplinary outpatient rehabilitation possibly is effective for improving disability/function (PPMS, SPMS, EDSS 4.0-8.0) (1 Class II). Motor and sensory balance training or motor balance training (3 weeks) possibly is effective for improving static and dynamic balance, and motor balance training (3 weeks) possibly is effective for improving static balance (RRMS, SPMS, PPMS) (1 Class II). Breathing-enhanced upper extremity exercises (6 weeks) possibly are effective for improving timed gait and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (RRMS, SPMS, PPMS, mean EDSS 4.5); this change is of unclear clinical significance. This technique possibly is ineffective for improving disability (1 Class II). Inspiratory muscle training (10 weeks) possibly improves maximal inspiratory pressure (RRMS, SPMS, PPMS, EDSS 2-6.5) (1 Class II).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Academies and Institutes / standards*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / epidemiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Neurology / methods
  • Neurology / standards*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Research Report / standards*
  • United States / epidemiology