20 July 2000
According to two comprehensive studies published in Neurology during the 1999, hospital physical rehabilitation programs have a positive effect on MS patients that lasts after returning home.
The first study followed 50 British MS patients for a year after they were in rehabilitation. Even though the patients' disease symptoms worsened, the rehabilitation improved the patients' physical and social abilities for six months. Patients also had positive effects on their overall quality of life for 10 months.
In another study, 27 MS patients participated in a three-week inpatient physical therapy program, then were taught exercises to do at home. As a control group, another 23 MS patients were taught the home exercises but had no inpatient physical therapy. The patients were evaluated at the beginning of the study, then after three, nine and 15 weeks. After three weeks, 48 percent of those in physical therapy improved their ability to do daily activities such as dressing and bathing, compared to 9 percent of those on the home exercise program. At nine weeks, the numbers were 44 percent and 4 percent.
The patients in physical therapy also reported an improvement in their mental and emotional quality of life three and nine weeks after the study started.
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