Group-based, individualized, comprehensive core stability and balance intervention provides immediate and long-term improvements in walking in individuals with multiple sclerosis: A randomized controlled trial

Physiother Res Int. 2020 Jan;25(1):e1798. doi: 10.1002/pri.1798. Epub 2019 Jul 3.


Objectives: Walking impairments are common in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Trunk control is a prerequisite for walking; however, knowledge regarding whether core stability and balance training influence walking is limited. This study aimed to investigate the immediate and long-term effects of a group-based, individualized, comprehensive core stability and balance intervention (GroupCoreDIST) compared with those of standard care on walking.

Methods: This assessor-blinded, prospective randomized controlled trial included 80 participants (Expanded Disability Status Scale scores 1-6.5) randomly allocated to GroupCoreDIST, conducted in groups of three for 60 min three times per week for 6 weeks (18 sessions) or standard care (n = 40/40). One participant attended no posttests, leaving 79 subjects for intention-to-treat analysis. The assessments were performed at baseline and at Weeks 7, 18, and 30. Outcomes included the 2-min walk test (2MWT), 10-m walk test-preferred/fast/slow speed (10MWT), Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale-12 (MSWS-12), Patient Global Impression of Change-walking (PGIC-walking), Rivermead Visual Gait Assessment (RVGA), and ActiGraphsWgt3X-BT activity monitors (ActiGraph). The statistical analyses included repeated-measures mixed models performed in IBM SPSS Version 24.

Results: There were no significant between-group differences in the outcome measurements at baseline. The mean differences between groups were significant at all follow-up time points in favour of GroupCoreDIST for the 2MWT, 16.7 m at 7 weeks (95% CI [8.15, 25.25], 15.08 m at 18 weeks (95% CI [6.39, 23.77]) and 16.38 m at 30 weeks (95% CI [7.65, 25.12]; and the PGIC-walking, 0.89 points at 7 weeks (95% CI [1.34, 0.45]), 0.97 points at 18 weeks (95% CI [1.42, 0.52]), and 0.93 points at 30 weeks (95% CI [1.39, 0.48]; all p ≤ .001). The 10MWT-fast speed and the MSWS-12 showed significant between-group differences at 7 and 18 weeks and the RVGA at 7 weeks. No between-group differences were found regarding activity level (ActiGraph) or the 10MWT-preferred or slow speed.

Conclusion: Compared with standard care, GroupCoreDIST significantly improved walking immediately after the intervention for up to 24 weeks of follow-up.

Keywords: group; mobility; multiple sclerosis; physiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walk Test
  • Walking*

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