By Stephen Pate
If you have Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), it’s vital to exercise moderately every second day to keep the muscles we have and avoid obesity, diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Exercise also helps us accomplish more of those activities of daily living and can improve how we feel.
This set of sample exercises for polio survivors was prepared by Christy Osborn, PT, DPT of Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay, Michigan.
Post-Polio Health, Volume 30, Number 2, Spring 2014.
Ask Dr. Maynard
Frederick M. Maynard, MD
Question: My husband had polio at age 8. He is now 71. His left leg has started giving out on him and he falls. He goes to a special trainer, but I’m afraid the trainer doesn’t know how to treat this. What type of exercises should benefit him, and what should he avoid?
Carolyn P. Da Silva, PT, DSc, NCS, Texas Woman’s University, Houston, Texas, and Yi-Wen Michelle Pu, MD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
In 2013, Post-Polio Health International awarded its seventh research grant ($25,000) to lead researcher, Carolyn P. Da Silva, PT, DSc, NCS, Texas Woman’s University.
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Aging with a Physical Disability (2011)
Muscular Strengthening is one of the most common recommendations of physical medicine and rehabilitation for people with PPS struggling with symptoms. However, historically, any type of exercise was once thought to be bad for people with neuromuscular diseases (such as muscular dystrophy, post-polio syndrome, cerebral palsy, etc.).
Carol Vandenakker, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
University of California, Davis, Health System
Presented at PHI’s 9th International Conference: Strategies for Living Well (June 2005)
A. You must start with a good primary care physician.
1. Keys to finding a good doctor:
a. Look for a physician you trust and can communicate with.
Carol Elliott, polio survivor
These are exercises that I find useful in bringing more energy into my daily life. These routines, practiced alone or in combination, have helped revitalize my daily challenge with PPS. Most of these stretches and gentle exercises can be done while seated. As always, check with you healthcare provider to be sure these activities are suited for your unique medical situation.
Carol Wallace, MEd, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Austin, Texas
I contracted polio in 1951 at age 5. Acute and rehabilitation hospitalization totaled two-and-a-half years with six months of iron lung treatment. Both my upper extremities and are paralyzed with only partial and weak right-hand motor function. As an adult, my forced vital capacity averages 48 percent. I require noninvasive mechanical ventilation whenever supine.
New muscle weakness is the hallmark of post-polio syndrome and can significantly impact activities of daily living. Some amount of new muscle weakness is likely to occur in about half of post-polio individuals (Jubelt & Drucker, 1999). Muscle weakness is most likely to occur in muscles previously affected during the acute poliomyelitis followed by a partial or full recovery (Cashman et al., 1987; Dalakas & Illa, 1991).
AN EFFECTIVE TOOL IN POST-POLIO MANAGEMENT
Mahboon ur Rahman, Peshawar, Pakistan
Brief Description of Work: Muscle power of polio-afflicted children were assisted and evaluated by Oxford Muscle Testing Chart. The chart as a diagnostic tool gives strength of muscles for the purpose of surgical interventions or physical regime.