A comparison of two physiotherapy treatment approaches to improve walking in multiple sclerosis: a pilot randomized controlled study.

Rivermead Rehabilitation Centre, Oxford, UK.
Clinical Rehabilitation (Impact Factor: 2.18). 12/1998; 12(6):477-86. DOI: 10.1191/026921598675863454
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To use a pilot study to compare two physiotherapy approaches to improve walking in patients with gait disturbance due to multiple sclerosis (MS).
Patients were assessed and then randomly assigned to one of two groups using a block randomization technique. They were treated by the research physiotherapist for a minimum of 15 treatments over a 5-7-week period and then reassessed by an independent therapist one week after treatment.
Both assessment and treatment were undertaken at a specialist rehabilitation centre.
Outpatients with clinically stable MS (chronic progressive or relapsing-remitting types) who were referred for physiotherapy to improve their mobility.
Comparison was between a facilitation (impairment-based) approach and a task-oriented (disability-focused) approach.
Mobility was assessed using four measures: the 10-metre timed walk, the Rivermead Mobility Index, stride length and the Rivermead Visual Gait Assessment. Balance was assessed using the Berg Balance Test.
Twenty-three patients were entered, and 10 in each group completed the study. The groups were similar on all measured items both before and after treatment. There was no significant difference in improvement between the two approaches. Following treatment, patients in both groups showed a significant overall improvement (p < 0.05) in both impairment and disability measures.
No significant differences in effectiveness between the two methods were demonstrated. Both a task-oriented approach and a facilitation approach to the treatment of MS outpatients were associated with improved mobility.

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