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Single Session of Ball-Throwing Exercise Improves Balance Control in MS

June 9, 2017

One symptom of MS is impaired balance control that puts patients at risk of major falls, contributing to a steep decline in their mobility and activity levels. In the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s study, “A Single-Session Training of Ball Throwing Exercise Improves Balance Control in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis,” it discusses how patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) regained part of their balance control after a single training session of ball-throwing exercises. In this study, a team of researchers sough to asses “the feasibility of short-term training in improvement of anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) and its effect on subsequent control of posture in individuals with MS.” APAs and compensatory postural adjustments are a part of the central nervous system that helps maintain equilibrium while standing.

The research team recruited eight RRMS patients and submitted them to tests before and after a single training session consisting of throwing a medicine ball. The training session led to a significant improvement of leg and trunk muscle activity prior to the bilateral arm flexion task. Patients also showed early activation of postural muscles and significantly larger EMG outcomes after training in most of the muscles. They also showed improvements in COP displacements after training. The team concluded that “individuals with MS can improve their ability to use predictive responses for postural control after a single-session training. The observed training-related improvements of balance control suggest that focused rehabilitation could be effective in improving postural control and as a result enhance mobility and quality of life in individuals with MS.”