Post –Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivor’s years after an initial attack of poliomyelitis. PPS is mainly characterized by weakening in muscles that were previously affected by the polio virus. Other symptoms of PPS include:
- General fatigue and exhaustion with minimal activity
- Muscle atrophy
- Respiratory and swallowing problems
- Minimal tolerance for cold temperatures
- Possible sleeping disorders
The cause of PPS is unknown, but the most regarded theory is that of degenerating nerve cells. When the polio virus infects your body, it affects nerve cells, known as motor neurons (predominantly in the spinal cord) that carry signals from the muscles to and from the brain. Due to the damage to the motor units left by the polio virus, the remaining neurons create new fibers, and the surviving motor units grow larger. Although this creates recovery for muscle use, it also adds a component of stress of the nerve cell body to nourish the additional fibers. Over the years this can cause more stress than the neuron can handle leading to gradual weakening of the neuron.
Because signs and symptoms vary with PPS, there is no specific treatment. Physical therapy can provide you with exercises that strengthen your muscles with as little exertion as possible. Exercise is most likely to benefit those muscle groups that were least affected by polio. Exercise should be reduced or discontinued if additional weakness, excessive fatigue, or overly prolonged recovery time is noted by either the individual with post-polio syndrome or the therapist monitoring the exercise.
We treat patients with post-polio in the Clermont 34711 area!