GENERAL THERAPIES AND THINGS TO AVOID
What follows is a general, practical guide for those with post-polio syndrome to use, and summarizes the current thinking about post-polio. It will be most valuable if it stimulates you to seek further and more specific information.
- If you are experiencing increasing muscle weakness, exercise only under the supervision of a knowledgeable physician/therapist
- Be alert to (but not obsessed with) changes in your body, and heed your body's signals.
- Take note of any new symptoms plus clear or gradual changes.
- Get enough exercise to prevent disuse atrophy, but not enough to produce overuse damage.
- Learn how to pace yourself.
- Prevent the secondary complications of weakness, particularly falls; this might entail the use of crutches or a cane, a wheelchair for extended travel, braces or other adaptive equipment.
- Avoid weight gain. Too much weight only aggravates stress on joints and muscles.
- Consider possible adaptations to your lifestyle; even minor adjustments (change in hobbies or modes of transportation) can help.
- Do not assume that every physician fully understands post-polio problems. Educate yourself and never hesitate to ask questions.
- Maintain a positive attitude toward your health. Accept change, adapt, and never equate your self-worth with physical disabilities.
- A registered physical therapist or someone familiar with neuromuscular disease should do a muscle strength evaluation. Muscle testing is now advised every year even if there is no obvious change in strength.
- The current recommendation is that all those with post-polio syndrome have a complete medical evaluation covering the three major areas affected by polio: neuromuscular, circulatory, and respiratory.
- Problems with extremities or joint function may require special consultation from a physiatrist, orthopedist, and/or neurologists familiar with skeletal deformities and muscle weakness.
Click to view