Making Sense of MS Research

Summaries of independent,
high-quality research about multiple sclerosis treatments

Multidisciplinary rehabilitation for MS

This is a summary of the scientific evidence about the effect of multidisciplinary rehabilitation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) written in plain language for people with MS and their family members. It is based on a report (known as a systematic review) that was produced by The Cochrane Collaboration.

In April 2011, the authors of the report searched for all the randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on this topic and combined the results. They aimed to provide an overall picture of whether multidisciplinary rehabilitation is effective in MS. They found 10 trials, including 954 participants. As of August 2012, there were no new RCTs conducted in this area.

Review question

What is the effect of organised multidisciplinary rehabilitation in adults with multiple sclerosis?

The short answer

This review found that multidisciplinary rehabilitation programs, conducted in hospitals, outpatient departments, community centres and at home can improve the experience of people with MS by increasing activity levels and participation in society. However, it does not change the actual amount of impairment, or disability, that people with MS experience. It is difficult to be specific about how much and what types of rehabilitation are most beneficial because the therapy is tailored specifically to an individual’s needs.

Do these results look different from what you’ve read elsewhere? See the FAQ page for an explanation. You can also discuss the results with your local MS Australia office.