Standing Improves Motor Function in Patients With Progressive MS

Standing for 30 minutes 3 times per week significantly improves quality of life and symptom severity among patients with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), according to new trial data.

To better understand the feasibility of a standing program for patients with progressive MS, the researchers conducted the Standing Up in Multiple Sclerosis (SUMS) trial, which included 140 patients with progressive MS being treated at 8 health care centers in 2 regions of the United Kingdom.

Participants were randomly assigned to either a standing frame model (n = 71) or a usual care model (n = 69) after baseline assessment. Participants in the standing care group stood for 30 minutes 3 times per week over 20 weeks and were encouraged to continue long term.

Motor function, as defined by the Amended Motor Club Assessment (AMCA) score, was the primary outcome and was tracked at baseline, 20 weeks, and 36 weeks. The clinically meaningful priori was defined as a 9-point change in AMCA score.

Results of the trial showed that AMCA scores significantly increased among participants in the standing frame group compared with the usual care group. At 36 weeks, the fully adjusted between-group difference in AMCA score was 4.7 points.

Musculoskeletal pain was the most common adverse effect reported by participants and lasted longer than 7 days in 5 participants. However, no serious adverse effects or events were reported.

“The standing frame programme significantly increased motor function in people with severe progressive multiple sclerosis, although not to the degree that was considered a priori as clinically meaningful,” the researchers concluded. “The standing frame is one of the first physiotherapy interventions to be effective in this population. We suggest that the programme is feasible as a home-based, self-managed intervention that could be routinely implemented in clinical practice in the UK.”

—Amanda Balbi



Freeman J, Hendrie W, Jarrett L, et al. Assessment of a home-based standing frame programme in people with progressive multiple sclerosis (SUMS): a pragmatic, multi-centre, randomised, controlled trial and cost-effectiveness analysis. Lancet Neurol. 2019;18(8):736-747.