BEEMS Me Up Scotty
Fatigue and dizziness are two common complaints for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. Fatigue is especially disabling. Other than medication, there are few options that are shown to be effective for managing fatigue. This is where BEEMS comes in!
Several areas of research have changed the way I practice PT. I love to read research and have a long list of favorites (who DOESN’T?) but there are a handful of papers that I read and reread and reflect on when I’m treating certain patients. BEEMS is one of those papers. Balance and Eye Movement Exercises.
Hebert, et al, published the pilot study in 2011 and replicated the results in a larger trial in 2018 ( Hebert, et al. Efficacy of Balance and Eye-Movement Exercises for Persons with Multiple Sclerosis (BEEMS). Neurology. 2018;90(9)e797-e807.(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29386274/)
Replicating the findings seven years later suggests a strong protocol and an intervention that could have significant impact for people living with MS. This research checks all the boxes — easily replicable in the real world, uses outcome measures recommended by Vestibular Edge, and addresses some of the primary issues that people with MS face each day.
How it works
Clients with MS were separated into 2 groups. One group performed eye exercises and balance exercises daily for 14 weeks. The control group did no treatment. (In the pilot study there were three groups, including a group who did bicycling instead of eye/balance exercises and they did not improve as well as the eye/balance group).
The persons who performed the eye and balance exercises improved significantly in dizziness, balance, and fatigue while the other group did not.
This article wasn’t performed in clients undergoing tele-medicine, however it is easily translatable. Hebert, et al, do mention tele-rehab in the discussion:
“Tele-rehabilitation strategies would possibly provide a means for cost-effective long-term BEEMS rehabilitation.”
I agree completely. Extreme fatigue is often a barrier for people with MS to even attend PT appointments. It is not only cost-effective, it is time-effective and then people could actually get better. I can’t tell you how often I hear that people are too busy and too tired to go to PT.
Well, maybe one day we will be able to teleport like in Star Trek and won’t even need telehealth! Beam me up Scotty!
Things are only impossible until they are not.
Star Trek reference. Check.
Ashley Stanley PT, DPT