Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an incurable neurodegenerative disease whose symptoms are only partially relieved by pharmaceutical intervention. Disability due to this disease process can impede activities of daily living and decrease quality of life, both for MS patients and for their care partners and families. A nonrandomized, nonblinded prospective cohort study of 45 patients with MS was undertaken to investigate the impact of an exercise program emphasizing resistance training on balance and gait. This article presents data for the first 33 participants to complete the study protocol. The exercise program consisted of twice-weekly 50-minute sessions for 6 months. At 3 months and 6 months, statistically significant improvements (P <.05) from baseline were observed for the following measures: Nine-Hole Peg Test, 2-and 3-second Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test, Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, NeuroCom Balance Master (NeuroCom International, Inc, Clackamas, OR), Timed Up and Go test, and Berg Balance Scale. Three-dimensional biomechanical gait analysis showed increased knee power generation during midstance and increased hip power generation during terminal stance. To determine whether individuals with varying levels of disability responded to exercise in a similar fashion, participants were divided into two subgroups based on Expanded Disability Status Scale score: little or no disability (EDSS score 1.0-4.0) and mild-to-moderate disability (EDSS score 4.5-6.5). No statistically significant differences in results were found. The results of this study indicate that participation in a resistance training program improves MS patients' ability to walk and to generate muscular forces during locomotion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing