Post-Polio Syndrome (cont.)
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What is the role of exercise in the treatment of post-polio syndrome?
The symptoms of pain, weakness, and fatigue can result from the overuse and misuse of muscles and joints. These same symptoms can also result from disuse of muscles and joints. This fact has caused a misunderstanding about whether to encourage or discourage exercise for polio survivors or individuals who already have post-polio syndrome.
Exercise is safe and effective when carefully prescribed and monitored by experienced health professionals. Exercise is more likely to benefit those muscle groups that were least affected by polio. Cardiopulmonary endurance training is usually more effective than strengthening exercises. Heavy or intense resistive exercise and weight-lifting using polio-affected muscles may be counterproductive because they can further weaken rather than strengthen these muscles.
Exercise prescriptions should include
Exercise should be reduced or discontinued if additional weakness, excessive fatigue, or unduly prolonged recovery time is noted by either the individual with post-polio syndrome or the professional monitoring the exercise.
Can post-polio syndrome be prevented?
Polio survivors often ask if there is a way to prevent post-polio syndrome. Presently, no intervention has been found to stop the deterioration of surviving neurons. But physicians recommend that polio survivors get the proper amount of sleep, maintain a well-balanced diet, avoid unhealthy habits such assmoking and overeating, and follow an exercise program as discussed above. Proper lifestyle changes, the use of assistive devices, and taking certain anti-inflammatory medications may help some of the symptoms of post-polio syndrome.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/2/2014
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