Is physical exercise a multiple sclerosis disease modifying treatment?

Robert W. Motl, Lara A. Pilutti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: There is consensus that exercise represents a behavioral approach for the restoration of function and management of symptoms among persons with multiple sclerosis (MS). The current paper provides a review on the topic of exercise and physical activity as MS-disease modifying treatments. Areas covered: Firstly, metrics for evaluating disease modification and progression in MS are described. Secondly, evidence for exercise as a MS-disease modifying therapy based on individual studies, literature reviews, and meta-analyses is summarized. Finally, the paper focuses on major limitations of the existing body of research. Expert commentary: Exercise and physical activity have been associated with reduced relapse rate, mobility disability and its progression, and lesion volume, and improved neuroperformance, particularly walking outcomes. This evidence provides a positive, yet preliminary, picture for exercise having possible effects on markers of disease modification and progression in MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)951-960
Number of pages10
JournalExpert Review of Neurotherapeutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016


  • Multiple sclerosis
  • disability
  • disease progression
  • exercise
  • relapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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