Effects of a 10 week yoga intervention on balance, mobility, spasticity and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis
Kirstein, Jaime K.
Master of Science
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Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that results in many symptoms including balance deficits, mobility limitations, spasticity and reduced quality of life (Joy & Johnston, 2001). However, little research exists on improving balance, mobility and spasticity through physical activity interventions in people with MS. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of a yoga intervention on postural control, spasticity, mobility, and quality of life in people with MS. A sample o f 12 people aged 30 to 76 (mean age o f 52 yrs.) with varying types of MS participated in a twice weekly 70 minute yoga intervention for 10 weeks. Participants completed a spasticity questionnaire, the Adapted Timed Get Up and Go (ATGUG), the Rivermead Mobility Index (RMI), a postural control assessment, and the Multiple Sclerosis Quality o f Life Inventory (MS-QLI) at 3 assessments; pre, post, and 12 weeks after the intervention. After the 10-week program a social validation questionnaire was also completed. One way repeated measures ANOVAs or Friedman ANOVAs by ranks indicated significant changes on the fatigue and vision scales of the MS-QLI MFIS and IVIS between pre and post assessments. Changes in ATGUG and RMI suggest that yoga may be a valuable alternative to traditional exercise programs for people with MS. Many of the changes began to return to pre intervention values over the second 12-week period. Future studies should employ a control group, larger sample sizes, and screen more carefully for initial functional status stratifications.