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  • Physical Therapists
  • Physical Therapist Assistants
Hours: 4 Contact Hours
  • Gail L. Widener, PhD, PT, 
  • Diane D. Allen, PhD, PT
Peer Reviewer(s): Susan E. Bennett, PT, DPT, EdD, NCS, MSCS
Item#: Q3492
Contents: 1 Course Book (92 pages)
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Kick It Up a Notch: Evidence-Based Physical Therapy for People With Multiple Sclerosis

Price $39.95
Item # Q3492
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Release Date: November 23, 2015

Expiration Date: November 23, 2018

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve mediated by the immune system. Because MS has no known cure and can start in young people, with symptoms appearing as early as childhood, the disabling effects of this disease may continue to limit function throughout peoples’ lives. Despite recent progress in rehabilitation approaches , patients with MS still have movement impairments including losses in strength, endurance, and sensation, which lead to restrictions in activities and participation. While a cure for this disease remains elusive, rehabilitation retains critical importance for optimizing quality of life in MS. 

Gaps in knowledge about managing any disease process can hinder rehabilitative care, but the complexities associated with MS exacerbate the problem. Without knowledge of the benefits and safety of more rigorous exercise in MS, therapists may prescribe exercise of inadequate intensity, and discharge patients too soon, with minimal instruction for activities to continue progression in movement abilities. If therapists know enough to “kick it up a notch,” the rehabilitative process could have significantly greater benefits for patients.

This intermediate-level course provides physical therapy practitioners with the background and evidence to increase effective management of movement disorders in people with MS. This up-to-date review will enable physical therapists to better target the specific needs of their patients. The evidence supporting assessment and intervention tools can help the therapist select assessments and interventions most likely to contribute to successful outcomes. The evidence also provides an indication of the likely benefit of a particular intervention when it is applied with the intensity, frequency, and timing reported in the literature. This course starts with a review of the incidence and prevalence, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and pharmacological management of this disease. The course then describes rehabilitative management, including assessment and intervention for people with MS. The intent is to encourage therapists to “kick it up a notch,” to apply sufficient intensity of appropriate evidence-based rehabilitation that challenges patients and improves their quality of life.


Texas PTs & PTAs - This activity is provided by the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners Accredited Provider #1911021TX and meets continuing competence requirements for PT & PTA license renewal in Texas.

California PTs & PTAs – Approved by the Physical Therapy Board of California through Net Education Design, Inc., an agency recognized by the board to approved courses that meet Physical Therapy Regulations 1399.96.

Ohio PTs & PTAs – Approved by the Ohio Physical Therapy Association, Approval #17S5757

Oklahoma PTs & PTAs - Approved by the Oklahoma State Board of Physical Therapy, Approval #201710639

Florida PTs & PTAs – The Florida Board of Physical Therapy accepts this course based on its pre-approval by the Ohio PT Association.

Course Objectives


  • Differentiate the incidence, prevalence, pathophysiology, and clinical presentation of multiple sclerosis from other common neurological disorders
  • Identify major components of the medical diagnosis and pharmacological management of multiple sclerosis
  • Utilize terms from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model to describe the impact and management of multiple sclerosis
  • Select observations and specific measures most appropriate for the examination of a particular individual with multiple sclerosis
  • Recommend a rehabilitation plan of care using evidence-based interventions to maximize patient/client function and quality of life


Gail L. Widener, PhD, PT, is a professor at the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, California. She completed her BSPT at Texas Women’s University and her PhD in physiology (emphasis in neurophysiology) at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Widener teaches physiology, neurophysiology, and the physical therapy management of persons with multiple sclerosis to entry-level physical therapy students and to physical therapy neurological residents. She wrote the chapter on multiple sclerosis in Umphred’s Neurological Rehabilitation, Sixth Edition, and has been a professional member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Northern California Chapter’s Clinical Advisory Committee for more than 15 years. Dr. Widener also teaches community courses for people with multiple sclerosis who have issues with balance and falling.

Diane D. Allen, PhD, PT, is a professor at the Graduate Program in Physical Therapy at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)/San Francisco State University. She completed her bachelor’s degree and certificate in physical therapy at UCSF, a master’s degree with a neuromuscular emphasis at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, a PhD in education (emphasis on quantitative measurement and evaluation) at the University of California, Berkeley, and a postdoctoral fellowship in rehabilitation measurement at Boston University. Dr. Allen specializes in tests and measures and neurorehabilitation, has coauthored a chapter on balance disorders and fall risk in Physical Rehabilitation Assessment and Intervention: An Evidence-Based Approach, and has published other studies related to outcome measures in neurological and outpatient populations. Dr. Allen received funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for her pilot study Mind the Gap – Targeting Differences in Patients’ Current and Preferred Abilities, in which she compared patient perceptions of their movement abilities with the clinicians’ emphases in therapy, noting that lack of agreement can lead to suboptimal outcomes.

Gail L. Widener and Diane D. Allen have been working with people with multiple sclerosis for more than 20 years and perform clinical research with this population. They have collaborated in writing a chapter on tone abnormalities in Physical Agents in Rehabilitation, now in its fourth edition. They have helped coauthor six peer-reviewed published articles, received grants from the California Physical Therapy Fund and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and have been co-principal investigators on a project funded by the National Institutes of Health studying the response of people with multiple sclerosis to balance-based torso-weighting.

Susan E. Bennett, PT, DPT, EdD, NCS, MSCS, is a clinical professor in the departments of Rehabilitation Science, Neurology, and Communication Disorders at the University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York. Dr. Bennett has been a principal investigator or co-investigator in several key clinical trials, as well as an invited presenter or lecturer at numerous medical conferences, both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Bennett received her BS in physical therapy from Daemen College (Buffalo), followed by an MS in health science education and an EdD in health behavioral sciences, both from the State University of New York in Buffalo. She is a board-certified neurorehabilitation specialist through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists and is certified as an MS Specialist by the Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC).
Dr. Bennett lectures and publishes in the areas of multiple sclerosis and physical rehabilitation, and is the 2010 recipient of the Labe C. Scheinberg Award, presented in recognition of outstanding work in neurorehabilitation in multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Bennett is past president of the CMSC and has served as treasurer and chair of the Rehabilitation Research Interest Group and project director of the International Organization of MS Rehabilitation Therapists.

  • Courses must be completed on or before the expiration date noted in the course description above.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content
  • There are no prerequisites for this course
  • Susan E. Bennett has disclosed that she has a financial relationship with Acorda Therapeutics and Medtronics. Western Schools ensures that this content is free from bias and commercial influence.