Balance-based torso-weighting may enhance balance in persons with multiple sclerosis: preliminary evidence.

Widener GL, Allen DD, Gibson-Horn C

The objective of this study was to determine whether weight placed on the trunk in response to directional balance loss would enhance function and stability in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). 16 participants underwent balance-based torso-weighting where up to 1.5% body weight was placed in a garment on the trunk. Subjects were tested at baseline and then in randomly ordered balance-based torso-weighting and nonweighted garment conditions. The outcome measures were the Sharpened Romberg, eyes open (SREO) and Sharpened Romberg, eyes closed, computerized dynamic platform posturography (CDPP), Timed Up & Go (TUG), and 25-foot timed walk.  Significant improvement was found with SREO in the balance-based torso-weighting compared with nonweighted conditions. CDPP eyes open and TUG showed improvements  from baseline to balance-based torso-weighting and nonweighted conditions.

Improved performance in a group of adults with MS was seen when light weights were placed on the torso to counteract balance loss. Placement of weights may have the potential to produce immediate improvements in balance in this population.

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009, 90(4), 602-9

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