19 December 2018

Take 3: Post-polio management

Clinical Communicable Disease

How are the late-onset post-polio symptoms best managed?

Polio patients have to learn to work smarter not harder during the recovery phase, says Dr Stephen de Graaff, a rehabilitation physician based in Melbourne.

“In the polio survivor we actually have to often de-activate, get them smarter ergonomically, teach them how to pace and re-set up their day,” he says.

“You want to decrease the burden on their neuromuscular system and spread out their activity so that they don’t hit fatigue and pain so quickly.

“It’s quite a challenge because this group from a psychological perspective are very driven. They want to succeed. And there are a number of people in our community who are polio survivors but you wouldn’t realise.

“But what happens is when they start not to succeed, they push themselves harder and they often present with more fatigue to the point where they start losing confidence.”

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