Treatment Of Post-polio Syndrome
For older survivors of previous polio epidemics in the United States and elsewhere there have been a group of related symptoms known as post-polio syndrome.
The amount of exercise recommended for postpolio people has been an issue in question. While it was felt that this syndrome, characterized by muscle atrophy and fatigue, called for some restrictions on exercise because of the weakened condition of the muscles, a more recent view is calling for a reexamination of that position. The newer view is that exercise training of muscles is more important than avoidance of exercise even though it becomes more difficult in the aging process. It is important to maintain a high level of activity as well as the right kind and amount. Studies have shown that postpolio muscles that have lost strength can recover strength with the right kind of exercise.
It is also possible for these people to improve their endurance, but it is important for them not to have expectations that exceed their physical limitations. One criterion that can be followed for improving the strength of a limb is to determine how much function remains in the limb. The strength of the limb should at least remain the same with the exercise, but if it begins to decrease, then it is possible it is being overexerted. Experts in the field of physical rehabilitation maintain that the limb should have at least 15% of normal function before it can be further improved with exercise. If it is below that amount the exercise may not help to improve strength and endurance.