ORIGINAL COMMUNICATION

Journal of Neurology

, Volume 254, Issue 2, pp 228-235

First online:

A prospective study of physiotherapist prescribed community based exercise in inflammatory peripheral neuropathy

  • R.C. GrahamAffiliated withApplied Biomedical Research Division, Shepherd’s House, Guy’s Campus, King’s College London
  • , R.A.C. HughesAffiliated withDept. of Clinical Neuroscience, School of Medicine, King’s College London
  • , C.M. WhiteAffiliated withApplied Biomedical Research Division, Shepherd’s House, Guy’s Campus, King’s College London Email author 

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Abstract

There is insufficient evidence to support the use of exercise in the management of chronic disablement in people with inflammatory peripheral neuropathy. Therefore, our study aimed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of a physiotherapist prescribed community based exercise programme for reducing chronic disablement in patients with stable motor neuropathy.

We assessed the effects of a 12  week unsupervised, community based strengthening, aerobic and functional exercise programme on activity limitation and other measures of functioning in 16 people with stable motor neuropathy and 10 healthy control subjects.

Fourteen of 16 patients and 8 out of 10 healthy control subjects completed the study and exercised safely in the community with no adverse events. Significant improvements were seen in all measures of activity limitation and in wider measures of health including anxiety, depression and fatigue in the patient group. Improvements were sustained at six months after completion of the exercise programme, except for depression. Ten patients continued to exercise regularly at six months.

These findings demonstrate that individually prescribed community based exercise is feasible and acceptable for people with stable motor neuropathy and participation in exercise may be successful in reducing chronic disablement. Future randomised controlled trials are needed to examine the efficacy of this complex community based intervention.

Keywords

exercise peripheral neuropathy Guillain-Barré syndrome physical therapy disability