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Mult Scler. 2017 Feb;23(2):286-296. doi: 10.1177/1352458516644058. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

The effect of rhythmic-cued motor imagery on walking, fatigue and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis: A randomised controlled trial.

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School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton, Eastbourne, UK.
Clinical Department of Neurology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.



Motor imagery and rhythmic auditory stimulation are physiotherapy strategies for walking rehabilitation.


To investigate the effect of motor imagery combined with rhythmic cueing on walking, fatigue and quality of life (QoL) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).


Individuals with MS and Expanded Disability Status Scale scores of 1.5-4.5 were randomised into one of three groups: 17 minutes of motor imagery, six times per week, for 4 weeks, with music (A) or metronome cues (B), both with verbal cueing, and (C) controls. Primary outcomes were walking speed (Timed 25-Foot Walk) and distance (6-Minute Walk Test). Secondary outcomes were walking perception (Multiple Sclerosis Walking Scale-12), fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale) and QoL (Short Form-36 Health Survey, Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale-29, Euroquol-5D-3L Questionnaire).


Of the 112 participants randomised, 101 completed the study. Compared to controls, both interventions significantly improved walking speed, distance and perception. Significant improvements in cognitive but not psychosocial fatigue were seen in the intervention groups, and physical fatigue improved only in the music-based group. Both interventions improved QoL; however, music-cued motor imagery was superior at improving health-related QoL.


Rhythmic-cued motor imagery improves walking, fatigue and QoL in people with MS, with music-cued motor imagery being more effective.


Multiple sclerosis; fatigue; physiotherapy; quality of life; rhythmic-cued motor imagery; walking

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