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Understanding Post-Polio Syndrome

Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that affects polio survivors years after they've recovered from their initial bout with the disease. An interval of 30 to 40 years usually elapses before the first PPS symptoms occur, but intervals as short as eight years and as long as 71 years have been documented. Modern rehabilitation may restore individuals with post-polio to their regular level of functioning; it may also require that they return to or begin using braces, crutches, canes, wheelchairs and a variety of adaptive equipment.

Weakness is the general symptom of post-polio syndrome. Muscle strength decreases when the nerve supply to the muscle is reduced. Symptoms can appear in the muscles that were affected at the time polio was contracted or in previously unaffected areas. Most new pain problems in polio survivors result from repetitive strain injuries to weakened muscle fibers and muscular tissues.



Aging of the previously damaged muscles and limbs and chronic strain of muscles whose strength was overestimated. (Post-polio survivors who consistently use remaining muscles at high intensity for many years are likely to develop Progressive Post-Polio Muscular Atrophy).

Medical problems unrelated to polio which may cause progression of post-polio weakness and lead to new symptoms.

Additional factors which contribute to late muscle deterioration include:


Living with Post-Polio Syndrome

Since some medical professionals do not recognize the symptoms of PPS, it is very important that a general medical evaluation be done to exclude other conditions which may mimic post-polio syndrome.

Further diagnosis and treatment by a specialist may then be necessary. Specialists dealing with post-polio syndrome include neurologists, pulmonogists, physiatrists and orthopedists.

Managing Post-Polio Syndrome

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