What's the treatment for post-polio syndrome?
There is no specific treatment for post-polio syndrome. Physical therapy may be used to increase muscle strength and endurance, and to introduce lifestyle modifications including adjusting your pace of exercise to avoid rapid fatigue.
Bracing, orthotics and other aids may support or substitute for affected muscles.
Pain and inflammation of the muscles and joints can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, application of hot packs, stretching exercises, and physical therapy. Exercises to maintain/increase flexibility are particularly important. However, an exercise regimen must be carefully designed, so as not to strain already fatigued muscles and nerves.
Some patients will require new types of braces to provide support for weakening muscles. Others will need to use wheelchairs or motorized scooters to maintain mobility.
Sleep problems and respiratory difficulties may be related to each other. If breathing is labored during sleep, the blood's oxygen content may drop low enough to interfere with the quality of sleep. This may require oxygen supplementation, or even the use of a machine to aid in breathing.
Complications that involve swallowing or breathing disturbances (such as sleep apnea) require specific treatments. Examples might include using different positions during meals, or an air-pressure mask and machine that can be used during sleep to support breathing. Counseling with a psychologist, occupational therapist or vocational counselor should be considered for specific psychological or occupational adjustments. Support groups offer education, support and social opportunities.