Music helps in rehab with multiple sclerosis

27-02-2022. Multiple sclerosis is a neurologically progressive disease with a very wide range of symptoms. There are very mild and slowly progressing courses with hardly any impairment in quality of life. On the other hand, there are also very virulent courses with sometimes severe neurological symptoms such as abnormal sensations, visual disturbances, sensorimotor losses such as partial paralysis and coordination disorders through to cognitive deficits such as attention or memory problems.

The disease often takes a relapsing course. Longer symptomatically stable phases are replaced and sudden severe deteriorations occur. On the one hand, these relapses are treated pharmacologically. The symptoms then often subside quickly. However, if restrictions persist for a longer period of time, rehabilitative measures make sense and then music therapy methods also come into play.

It has been known for a long time that music therapy can contribute to the psychological management of multiple sclerosis. A current review has now documented that this also applies to physical functional limitations. For this purpose, a total of 10 clinical studies with a total of 429 patients were evaluated. In addition to the music intervention, all studies had a so-called control arm. There was either standard treatment or no treatment. The musical interventions included music-assisted gait training, therapeutic instrumental playing, therapeutic dancing or the so-called Neurologic Music Therapy.

The scientific evaluation of the studies revealed clearly positive health effects for MS patients. These included improvements in walking function, balance, walking endurance, fine motor skills, strength, fatigue, emotionality, and pain.

Thus, music therapy can be seen as an important therapy in the rehabilitation of multiple sclerosis.


Source: Lopes, J, Keppers, II (2021). Music-based therapy in rehabilitation of people with multiple sclerosis: a systematic review of clinical trials. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2021 Jun;79(6):527-535. link.