Physiotherapy rehabilitation for people with progressive Multiple Sclerosis: a systematic review

Evan Campbell, Elaine Coulter, Paul G. Mattison, Linda Miller, Angus McFadyen, Lorna Paul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Early online date14 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016



  • exercise
  • multiple sclerosis
  • physical therapy modalities
  • rehabilitation

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