Physiotherapy use and access-barriers in persons with multiple sclerosis: A cross-sectional analysis.

Fortunato, Remo; van der Maas, Nico Arie; Biland-Thommen, Ursula; Kaufmann, Marco; Sieber, Chloé; Kamm, Christian P.; Zecca, Chiara; Gobbi, Claudio; Chan, Andrew; Calabrese, Pasquale; Kesselring, Jürg; von Wyl, Viktor (2021). Physiotherapy use and access-barriers in persons with multiple sclerosis: A cross-sectional analysis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 48(102710), p. 102710. Elsevier 10.1016/j.msard.2020.102710

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Physiotherapy may alleviate many multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms, yet very little is known about physiotherapy accessibility and possible barriers in persons with MS (pwMS). We therefore aimed to elucidate physiotherapy use and possible access-barriers using data from 1493 pwMS from the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Registry (SMSR), a patient-centered, longitudinal, observational MS study.


We used data of the SMSR to investigate the question at hand in a multivariable logistic regression model with regularly receiving physiotherapy (yes/no) as the outcome. Potential explanatory variables were investigated following an AIC-driven model selection approach and consisted of a priori specified socio-demographic variables, health status, and personal or social mobility variables. As a last step, the impact of physiotherapist supply on regular use was assessed in the final model. Missing data were handled by multiple imputation (main analysis), and complete case sensitivity analyses were performed.


The main analysis included 1493 participants. In the multivariable logistic regression, positive associations were found between the use of physiotherapy and the following variables: having a primary-progressive MS (Odds Ratio (OR) [95% Confidence Intervals] 1.97 [1.18; 3.29]), being more severely impaired (EDSS 4-6.5 OR 1.84 [1.16; 2.91]), higher number of current symptoms (1 OR 3.31 [1.63; 6.74], 2-3 OR 3.43 [1.8; 6.53], 4-5 OR 4.44 [2.28; 8.66], 6-7 OR 4.06 [1.90; 8.70], 8-9 OR 3.87 [1.71; 8.75], being on disability pension (OR 1.75 [1.24; 2.46], or having applied for it OR 2.25 [1.31; 3.85]), having gait problems (OR 1.58 [1.11; 2.23]), having been in a rehabilitation clinic in the past 12 months (OR 4.43 [2.17; 9.03]), and currently being on disease-modifying treatment (OR 1.61 [1.12; 2.31]). Negative associations were found for a higher quality of life (OR 0.92 [0.85; 0.98]), working more than 80% (OR 0.47 [0.30; 0.75]) and being from the French language region (OR 0.66 [0.47; 0.94]). No association between physiotherapist supply and regular physiotherapy use was detected.


In a large, Swiss-based MS population, little evidence for socio-demographic barriers to physical therapy was found. Physiotherapy uptake was higher among pwMS with more impairments, lower health-related quality of life, or who have been discharged recently from inpatient rehabilitation. The uptake differences by language region warrant further investigations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Kamm, Christian Philipp and Chan, Andrew Hao-Kuang


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Chantal Kottler

Date Deposited:

27 Jan 2021 14:13

Last Modified:

14 Mar 2021 09:38

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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