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How do doctors treat post-polio syndrome?

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Quick Answer

Because symptoms vary, there is no one treatment for post-polio syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic. A variety of treatments are implemented to help patients manage symptoms to be as comfortable and independent as possible.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, many medications have been studied to help alleviate post-polio syndrome, but none have been found to be very effective, Mayo Clinic reports. Currently, physicians recommend over-the-counter and prescription pain medications to help ease muscle and joint pain.

Sleep apnea is common among post-polio syndrome patients, and sometimes doctors recommend treatment for the condition, Mayo Clinic states. Patients may need to wear a device to open their airways or refrain from sleeping on their backs.

Physical therapy exercises may be prescribed, Mayo Clinic says. Most exercises are designed to strengthen muscles without creating muscle fatigue. It is important that patients with post-polio syndrome not over-exercise to the point of fatigue because it typically takes a lot of rest to recover. Sometimes speech therapy helps patients learn to overcome difficulty swallowing.

Occupational therapy is very common because most post-polio syndrome patients must learn how to conserve energy, Mayo Clinic states. This involves learning how to pace oneself and rest periodically with the assistance of a cane, wheelchair or scooter. Occupational therapists also help patients make their homes safe and convenient as well as determine ways to perform household tasks while conserving energy.

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