You are here:

MS research update – Could Pilates have cognitive benefits as well as physical? – 3 May 2016

Summary

Some research has investigated the use of Pilates for people with MS, but few studies have focused on clinical Pilates. This is a programme that focuses on core stability.

20 people with MS completed the study, they were split into two groups. The first adhered to a clinical Pilates programme and the second a traditional exercise programme for eight weeks.

The study found that both clinical Pilates and traditional exercise improved performance on some physical tests. Those in the Pilates group had significant improvements in balance, fatigue and tiredness and they had greater improvements in their cognitive symptoms and quality of life when compared to the traditional exercise group participants.

It was already known that exercise has several benefits for people with MS, including improving mobility and symptoms but this study shows clinical Pilates could lead to bigger improvements in cognitive symptoms and quality of life over traditional exercise.

Background

Previous research has shown that exercise has numerous benefits for people with MS, including improving strength and mobility. The majority of the research to date has been focused on strengthening and aerobic type exercises. Some research has investigated the use of Pilates for people with MS, most often focusing on physical aspects such as balance and strength, but few studies have focused on clinical Pilates. This is a programme that focuses on core stability and includes a breathing component too. It is often used by physiotherapists as a rehabilitation tool. In studies conducted in the general population clinical Pilates programmes have been shown to improve flexibility, balance and endurance.

This study aimed to investigate the use of clinical Pilates for people with MS further and see if it could improve cognitive and other symptoms as well as physical functions.

How this study was carried out

37 people with MS in Turkey were recruited to take part and 20 completed the study. To take part all had to be aged over 18 years and have an EDSS score of six or lower.

Participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups:

  1. Clinical Pilates programme with a physiotherapist – the key elements of this programme were breathing, focus, and placement of the head, neck, shoulders and rib cage.
  2. Traditional exercise programme (control group) – this included strength, balance and coordination exercises.

Participants took part in a 45 minute session, twice a week for eight weeks.

Before and after the eight week study period participants went through several assessments of cognition, fatigue, depression, balance, coordination, mobility, physical performance, disability and quality of life. You can read more about the individual tests performed in the full text of the paper which is available to read for free.

What was found

After the eight weeks programme participants in both the Pilates and the traditional exercise groups had improved performance on some physical tests. The Pilates participants had significant improvements in balance, fatigue, tiredness and cognitive symptoms after the eight week programme.

Those in the Pilates group had greater improvements in their cognitive symptoms and quality of life when compared to the control group participants.

What does it mean?

It was already known that exercise has several benefits for people with MS, including improving mobility and symptoms. This study shows that that a type of Pilates, known as clinical Pilates (which a programme lead by a physiotherapist and focuses on core stability), could lead to bigger improvements in cognitive symptoms and quality of life over traditional exercise.

Although the results are encouraging the study did have a relatively low number of participants as so many dropped out after the start and it only looked at the effect of exercise and Pilates over 8 weeks. The researchers are now running a longer study with more participants to confirm their results and investigate the longer term effects.

Küçük F, Kara B, Poyraz EÇ, İdiman E.
Improvements in cognition, quality of life, and physical performance with clinical Pilates in multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial.
J Phys Ther Sci. 2016 Mar;28(3):761-8. Epub 2016 Mar 31.
Abstract
Read the full text of this paper

More about Pilates

In the past, people with multiple sclerosis were advised to avoid exercise especially activities that might be tiring. A number of studies have shown that regular moderate exercise is a good thing although the exercise should be something that is enjoyable and fits within someone's capabilities.

Pilates is one of many options available for people with MS to stay active.

An MS Trust funded pilot study looked at how core stability training, like Pilates, can benefit people with MS. This is being followed up by a larger multicentre study, also funded by the MS Trust.

You can read more about Pilates on the NHS Choices web site. It includes advice on what to look out for when choosing a class or teacher.

We also have a range of resources on the MS Trust website, including:

Research by topic areas...

Assessment tools

Giovannetti AM, Pietrolongo E, Giordano A, et al.
Individualized quality of life of severely affected multiple sclerosis patients: practicability and value in comparison with standard inventories.
Qual Life Res. 2016 Apr 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Abstract

CCSVI

Ghahari S, Forwell SJ.
Social media representation of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency intervention for multiple sclerosis.
Int J MS Care. 2016 Mar-Apr;18(2):49-57.
Abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Disease modifying drugs

Hatcher SE, Waubant E, Nourbakhsh B, et al.
Rebound syndrome in patients with multiple sclerosis after cessation of fingolimod treatment.
JAMA Neurol. 2016 May 2. [Epub ahead of print]
Abstract

Economics

Montgomery S, Kusel J, Allen F, et al.
Paucity and inconsistency: a systematic review and critique of budget impact analyses of disease-modifying therapies for multiple sclerosis in the UK and the implications for policy in the UK.
Appl Health Econ Health Policy. 2016 Apr 29. [Epub ahead of print] Review.
Abstract

Genetics

Goodin DS.
The nature of genetic susceptibility to multiple sclerosis: constraining the possibilities.
BMC Neurol. 2016 Apr 27;16(1):56.
Abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Other

Cook JE, Germano AL, Stadler G.
An exploratory investigation of social stigma and concealment in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Int J MS Care. 2016 Mar-Apr;18(2):78-84.
Abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Pregnancy and childbirth

Yalcin SE, Yalcin Y, Yavuz A, et al.
Maternal and perinatal outcomes in pregnancies with multiple sclerosis: a case-control study.
J Perinat Med. 2016 Apr 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Abstract

Provision of care

Habibi M, Kuttab HM.
Management of multiple sclerosis and the integration of related specialty pharmacy programs within health systems.
Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2016 Apr 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Abstract

Psychological aspects

Brenner P, Burkill S, Jokinen J, et al.
Multiple sclerosis and risk of attempted and completed suicide - a cohort study.
Eur J Neurol. 2016 Apr 27. [Epub ahead of print]
Abstract

Symptoms and symptom management

Morrison JD, Stuifbergen AK.
Predictors of fatigue impact in persons with long-standing multiple sclerosis.
J Neurosci Nurs. 2016 Jun;48(3):143-150.
Abstract

Fiest KM, Fisk JD, Patten SB, et al.
Fatigue and comorbidities in multiple sclerosis.
Int J MS Care. 2016 Mar-Apr;18(2):96-104.
Abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Garg H, Bush S, Gappmaier E.
Associations between fatigue and disability, functional mobility, depression, and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis.
Int J MS Care. 2016 Mar-Apr;18(2):71-7.
Abstract
Read the full text of this paper

Zecca C, Riccitelli GC, Disanto G, et al.
Urinary incontinence in multiple sclerosis: prevalence, severity and impact on patients' quality of life.
Eur J Neurol. 2016 Apr 27. [Epub ahead of print]
Abstract

Passananti V, Wilton A, Preziosi G, et al.
Long-term efficacy and safety of transanal irrigation in multiple sclerosis.
Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2016 Apr 26. [Epub ahead of print]
Abstract

Year: 2016

December 2016

November 2016

July 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

Year: 2015

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

Year: 2014

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

Year: 2013

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

Year: 2012

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

Print this page