Ataxia, the incoordination and balance dysfunction in movements without muscle weakness, causes gait and postural disturbance in patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis, and degeneration in the cerebellum. The aim of this article was to provide a narrative review of the previous reports on physical therapy for mainly cerebellar ataxia offering various opinions. Some systematic reviews and randomized control trial studies, which were searched in the electronic databases using terms “ataxia” and “physical therapy,” enable a strategy for physical therapy for cerebellar ataxia. Intensive physical therapy more than 1 hour per day for at least 4 weeks, focused on balance, gait, and strength training in hospital and home for patients with degenerative cerebellar ataxia can improve ataxia, gait ability, and activity of daily living. Furthermore, the weighting on the torso, using treadmill, noninvasive brain stimulation over the cerebellum for neuromodulation to facilitate motor learning, and neurophysiological assessment have a potential to improve the effect of physical therapy on cerebellar ataxia. Previous findings indicated that physical therapy is time restricted; therefore, its long-term effect and the effect of new optional neurophysiological methods should be studied.
Part of the book: Neurological Physical Therapy