The aim of this study was to investigate whether therapeutic riding (TR, Sweden) hippotherapy (HT, United States) may affect balance, gait, spasticity, functional strength, coordination, pain, self-rated level of muscle tension (SRLMT), activities of daily living (ADL), and health-related quality of life. Eleven patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) were studied in a single-subject experimental design (SSED) study, type A-B-A. The intervention comprised ten weekly TR/HT sessions of 30 minutes each. The subjects were measured a maximum of 13 times. Physical tests were: the Berg balance scale, walking a figure of eight, the timed up and go test, 10 m walking, the modified Ashworth scale, the Index of Muscle Function, the Birgitta Lindmark motor assessment, part B, and individual measurements. Self-rated measures were: the Visual Analog Scale for pain, a scale for SRLMT, the Patient-Specific Functional Scale for ADL, and the SF-36. Data were analyzed visually, semi-statistically and considering clinical significance. Results showed improvement for ten subjects in one or more of the variables, particularly balance, and some improvements were also seen in pain, muscle tension, and ADL. Changes in SF-36 were mostly positive, with an improvement in Role-Emotional seen in eight patients. Conclusively, balance and Role-Emotional were the variables most often improved, but TR/HT appeared to benefit the subjects differently.
2005. Vol. 21, no 1, 51-77 p.