What are the benefits of physical therapy (PT) for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)?

Updated: Jan 02, 2020
  • Author: Divakara Kedlaya, MBBS; Chief Editor: Ryan O Stephenson, DO  more...
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In one study, individualized, moderate-intensity, endurance-type exercises for the trunk and limbs performed 15 minutes twice daily was shown to significantly reduce spasticity as measured by the Ashworth scale. The effects of exercise in people with ALS are not well understood. A Cochrane review concluded that studies were too small to determine to what extent strengthening exercises for people with ALS are beneficial or whether exercise is harmful. There is a complete lack of randomized or quasi-randomized clinical trials examining aerobic exercise in this population. [9]

A prospective study by Meyer et al found that despite the fact that patients with ALS who underwent physical therapy experienced, as anticipated with the progressive disorder, a 3-point decline in the ALS Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R) and a composite-score reduction of 0.8 in the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP), individuals evaluated via an online assessment perceived the therapy to be beneficial. By the end of the study, the Net Promoter Score, used to assess patient recommendation levels for physical therapy, had risen from its baseline value of 20 points to 50 points. [10]

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