A systematic review published this week in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine has highlighted the effect of physiotherapy interventions on balance in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The authors have concluded a small, yet significant, improvement in balance in MS patients with mild to moderate disability. 11 studies were included in a qualitative analysis while 7 provided data for a meta-analysis. To be included in the review, studies must have been randomised control trials and have an outcome measure associated with the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) category of “changing and maintaining body position”.
Physiotherapy intervention were divided into five different groups: specific balance exercises, resistance and aerobic training, whole body vibration, group therapy and neurotherapeutic approaches. The authors found specific balance exercises to be the most effective, in particular interventions which utilised well-defined progressive exercises. Due to the low to moderate level of methodological quality and the overall low level of evidence, recommendations are made for future studies. This includes; the need for research on balance interventions in MS patients with a severe level of disability, the inclusion of larger sample sizes, longer follow up times and the use of standardised assessment instruments.
The review is available free of charge from the link below: