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.
© 2019 The Authors Physiotherapy Research International Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.