MS Spasticity: Take Control (STC) for ambulatory adults: Protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Cinda L. Hugos, Michelle H. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Spasticity affects 60-80% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), impacting activity, participation and quality of life. We developed the group delivered spasticity self-management program, "MS Spasticity: Take Control"(STC), with DVDs for education and lower extremity stretching. STC is based on an international guideline and recommendations from systematic reviews and emphasizes the importance of stretching with specific stretching exercises. Our pilot trial (n = 38) compared STC followed by one month of home stretching practice to unguided use of the National MS Society (NMSS) brochure titled "Stretching for People with MS: An Illustrated Manual,"also followed by one month of home stretching practice. In this pilot trial, STC showed promising effects on the impact of spasticity (MS Spasticity Scale-88) and other self-report and physical performance measures. We will now carry out a fully-powered trial to evaluate the effect of STC compared to a comparably delivered control program on the impact and severity of spasticity in people with MS and self-reported lower extremity spasticity. Methods: Two hundred-twenty ambulatory adults with MS self-reported spasticity interfering with daily activities will be randomized 1:1 to STC or control, using the same NMSS brochure used in the pilot study, with both programs delivered in groups with trained facilitators. Outcomes are the impact of spasticity with the MS Spasticity Scale-88, the severity of spasticity with the Numeric Rating Scale for Spasticity, other self-report questionnaires, and physical performance walking measures at baseline and one and 6 months after the interventions. Discussion: Stretching is the cornerstone of spasticity management. Stretching takes time and energy every day. Unfortunately, beyond the logical expectation that regular stretching should help prevent muscle shortening and contractures in the presence of spasticity, there is very little data on the effects of stretching on spasticity in people with MS or any other condition. Our pilot trial of STC suggested that education and stretching help reduce the impact of spasticity. To definitively determine if this education and instructional program with daily stretching practice is effective, a fully powered trial with a comparable control intervention and facilitators who did not create STC is needed. Here we report the protocol for this trial. Trial registration: NCT03166930 May 25, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number368
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 7 2020


  • Clinical trial
  • Exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Self-management
  • Spasticity
  • Stretching
  • Symptom management
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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