Importance: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that produces both motor and cognitive dysfunctions. Impairments in limb function as a result of MS cause a decline in the performance of activities of daily living (ADLs).
Objective: To determine whether the use of mental practice (MP) or MP combined with training in motor manipulation skills (skills training) would improve gross and fine motor skills and treatment satisfaction among people with MS.
Design: Pilot study with a duration of 3 mo plus 3-mo follow-up.
Setting: Two MS associations.
Participants: Thirty-five patients diagnosed with MS of the relapsing–remitting and progressive secondary subtypes, ages 25 to 60 yr.
Intervention: The participants were allocated to one of three groups according to their order of inclusion in the study: (1) MP, (2) MP + skills training, or (3) control group. The treatment protocol had a 6-wk duration and a total of 12 sessions.
Outcomes and Measures: Blinded evaluators performed three assessments for each patient (pretreatment, posttreatment, and 3-mo follow-up) using the Nine-Hole Peg Test, Box and Block Test, ABILHAND, and Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM).
Results: We found no evidence of benefits in self-perceived performance of ADLs with respect to gross and fine motor skills; however, there was an improvement in perceived satisfaction and in the performance of activities, independent of the treatment received.
Conclusions and Relevance: Perceived ADL performance and satisfaction with performance increases among people with MS when they receive MP, MP + skills training, and conventional rehabilitation treatment.
What This Article Adds: Mental practice combined with conventional treatment could contribute to patients perceiving improved performance of ADLs. Self-reported outcome measures, such as the COPM, could provide highly valuable information about occupation performance that may not match the objective evidence.