Patient Comments: Post-Polio Syndrome - Symptoms

What were your symptoms associated with post-polio syndrome?

Comment from: Linda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

I contracted polio in 1952 at age 15 months. I wore braces and had a muscles contract with muscle wasting on my right side. After surgery and being sent to a rehabilitation facility, at age 8 for a year, I was expected to fit in, and spent much of my time trying to measure up to everyone else. I married right out of high school and was able to have 3 children. As I look back on it, I was still trying to catch up. I picked professions that were physically hard. I was a hair dresser and would stand for hours and be exhausted. I went to nursing school at age 40 and became a registered nurse. At work, I had periods of weakness and had trouble doing my job, which was lifting, pushing, pulling standing, stooping, etc. I began falling almost on a daily basis, and again tried to hide the fact that I was too weak and it was getting worse. I could hardly struggle out to my car after a shift. This is just a little of the symptoms I had. I also have shortness of breath and trouble swallowing at times. Exercise makes my muscles waste even further. Joint problems with surgeries another symptom. It is getting worse as I age.

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Comment from: shermada, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 28

I contracted polio in 1970 at age 8 from the Sabin oral vaccine. It took about 4 or 5 months to recover, however about a year later I began having problems with my knee joints swelling. Now, for the past few years I have been dealing with increasing muscle fatigue, generalized fatigue and muscle pain. I am also experiencing increasing numbness. And I fall a lot. My life was ruined because of this vaccine. I wish my parents would have just skipped it and took their chances. A doctor told me years ago that only one half of one percent of people vaccinated develop polio from the vaccine. That the benefits outweigh the risks. That"s all well and good as long as you aren"t the unlucky one half of one percent.

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Comment from: Ken D, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: February 11

I am now 82 years old and contracted polio while in Korea in 1961. I was totally paralyzed from my waist down. I was treated for 4 months as a civilian in a military hospital and treated for 2 additional months in a university hospital in the United States. The therapy was great and I eventually regained the use of my legs with the aid of forearm crutches. There was a short period where I could walk for a short time without the use of crutches. My leg muscles began to deteriorate when I fell in 1980 and broke my hip. Further deterioration occurred in 1999 when I fell and broke my femur, and more in 2003 when I fell again and broke my tibia. All these were on my left side where my recovered muscles were weakest. I was still able to walk with the aid of the crutches for short distances. In December of 2013, I reached a point, while walking, that I dared not take another step or I would fall again. I was able to sit on a chair that happened to be nearby. I dared not try to get up and called 911 for assistance. Since then I have been using my wheelchair and a walker trying to build the leg muscles to the point I could again get around with the use of my forearm crutches. So far I am not there, but I will keep trying! I do hope I am not overdoing it with too much exercise.

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Comment from: roy, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: October 18

I had polio at the age of 18 months and I wasn't vaccinated. I was paralyzed, I have a bad left leg and hip and scoliosis. I've had 11 surgeries and looking at more, I just had bone took out of my left hand, now I need my right knee replaced. I have post-polio syndrome and it is greatly affecting my body from lack of sleep, fatigued muscles, lack of energy and throat problems. I'm on 13 medicines. My right leg has given up from carrying the bad left leg. I worked hard for 25 yrs. in a factory, now I can hardly get out of bed. I'm only 54 years old, I contracted polio in 1961.

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Comment from: kj, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

I contracted paralytic polio (severe) in 1952 when I was 5 years old. After a great deal of time in the hospital and school for the physically handicapped (and a tremendous amount of physical therapy!), I went on to enjoying a life of academia, which also included skiing, running, dancing, etc. In the mid-1990s, I was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome, and symptoms included fatigue, muscle weakness, sleep disturbances, muscle pain, etc. The symptoms seemed to abate in the late 1990s until 2009, when PPS appeared in my life in a strong and progressive way which, in addition to the above stated symptoms, included balance problems, falls (with injuries), dropping items, tremors, increased sleep disturbances, pain, lack of coordination, and perhaps the most frustrating symptom of all, problems with word identification. The symptoms appear to be exacerbated by stress. At the urging of my physician, I was able to earn a service dog 12 months ago. I can't even begin to share how much having a service dog has changed my life! He counterbalances when I have balance issues, allows me to walk greater distances, braces when I fall so that I can lift myself up holding onto his vest/harness, picks up dropped items for me, and during those times I'm unable to identify words, he responds to hand signals. My physician said that he had worries that should I wear braces, use crutches, etc. My falls could easily end in large bone fractures and that a service dog would best meet my needs. He was right on target, and in addition to all the assistance my service dog provides, he is also incredibly helpful in grounding me and helping me to refocus. I'm the luckiest person in the world to have Nate, my service dog.

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Post-Polio Syndrome - Treatment Question: What forms of treatment or therapy have you tried to improve muscle strength lost from post-polio syndrome?
Post-Polio Syndrome - Exercise Question: What types of exercise or physical therapy are helpful in managing symptoms associated with post-polio syndrome?

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