Patients With Post-Polio Syndrome May Benefit From Physiotherapy Sessions

Physiotherapy has been around since ancient times, but the modern form of this treatment was developed during the late 19th Century. The demand for physiotherapy rose sharply due to increases in polio cases beginning in the early 1900s. Because of an effective vaccination program, Canada has not had a case originating in the country since the 1970s. Unfortunately, some people who had been infected develop a condition known as post-polio syndrome many years later. They may benefit from sessions with a Mississauga Physiotherapy practitioner.

A Brief History

The first worldwide polio epidemic began in 1916. The disease was truly an epidemic in North America by the 1940s. The first physical therapy school had opened its doors during World War I at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Maryland, as the need for treatment for soldiers was recognized.

The healthcare workers at the time were known as reconstruction aides. They later started to be called physiotherapy aides. By the mid-century, the number of physiotherapists had grown dramatically to continue answering escalating demand for the workers.

Polio and Post-Polio Syndrome

Polio can cause severe weakness and even paralysis of the muscles. These effects occur in less than a half-percent of patients, but that still accounted for millions of individuals globally during those epidemic years. Some were permanently paralyzed or had permanent deformities. Thousands of patients did not survive.

Post-polio syndrome does not have such serious symptoms, but it may cause progressive muscle weakness, pain, and fatigue after a small amount of activity. Patients must learn to pace themselves to prevent fatigue. This can be difficult for people who are accustomed to being active. Still, they must learn to pay close attention to their bodies and recognize when symptoms are about to flare up.

Physiotherapy and Post-Polio Syndrome

So far, researchers have not found any definitive strategies that prevent post-polio syndrome from occurring. However, a healthy lifestyle including an exercise program may help. Physiotherapy is useful for people who have developed post-polio syndrome. The exercises strengthen weakened muscles and restore function. Sometimes full function can be restored. Even when this does not happen, patients should still experience significant improvement.

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