JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effects of a 10-week inspiratory muscle training program on lower-extremity mobility in people with multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial

Lucinda Pfalzer, Donna Fry
International Journal of MS Care 2011, 13 (1): 32-42
24453703
Pulmonary muscle weakness is common in ambulatory people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and may lead to deficits in mobility function. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a 10-week home-based exercise program using an inspiratory muscle threshold trainer (IMT) on the results of four lower-extremity physical performance tests in people with MS. The study design was a two-group (experimental-control), pretest-posttest study. Outcome measures consisted of pulmonary function measures including maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP), maximal expiratory pressure (MEP), and maximal voluntary ventilation (MVV), and the following lower-extremity physical performance measures: the 6-Minute Walk (6MW) distance, gait velocity (GV), the Sit-to-Stand Test (SST), the Functional Stair Test (FST), and a balance test (BAL). A total of 46 ambulatory participants (Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] score, 2.0-6.5) with MS were randomly assigned to an intervention group (mean EDSS score, 4.1) that received 10 weeks of home-based inspiratory muscle training or a nontreatment control group (mean EDSS score, 3.2). Of the original 46 participants, 20 intervention group participants and 19 control group participants completed the study. Compared with the control group, the intervention group made significantly greater gains in inspiratory muscle strength (P = .003) and timed balance scores (P = .008). A nonsignificant improvement in 6MW distance (P = .086) was also noted in the IMT-trained group as compared with the control group. This is the first study directly linking improvement in respiratory function to improvement in physical performance function in people with mild-to-moderate disability due to MS.

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