Effectiveness of Physiotherapy Interventions on Spasticity in People with Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Mohammad Etoom, Yazan Khraiwesh, Francesco Lena, Mohannad Hawamdeh, Ziad Hawamdeh, Diego Centonze, Calogero Foti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective The aim of the study was to examine the effectiveness of physiotherapy (PT) interventions on spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis. Design A systematic search was performed using PRISMA guidance. Studies evaluate the effect of PT interventions on spasticity were included. People with multiple sclerosis, spasticity, disability and PT interventions characteristics were extracted in included studies. Level of evidence was synthesized by the Grade of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation approach. Meta-analyses were performed by calculating Hedges g at 95% confidence interval. Results A total of 29 studies were included in the review, and 25 were included in the meta-analyses. The included PT interventions were exercise therapy, electrical stimulation, radial shock wave therapy, vibration, and standing. The review and meta-analyses showed different evidences of benefits and nonbenefits for PT interventions on some spasticity outcomes. The best quality evidences were for beneficial effects of exercise therapy especially robot gait training and outpatient exercise programs on self-perceived spasticity and muscle tone respectively. The review results were positive regarding the acute effects, follow-up measurements, safety, progressive MS, and nonambulatory people with multiple sclerosis. The included articles were heterogeneous and badly reported in PT interventions and people with multiple sclerosis characteristics. Conclusions Physiotherapy interventions can be a safe and beneficial option for spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis. No firm conclusion can be drawn on overall spasticity. Further researches in different spasticity aspects are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-807
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscle Spasticity
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Rehabilitation
  • Review [Publication Type]

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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