What treatment is available?

Polio survivors have weakened nervous systems, and so it is important to protect the nervous system by avoiding or using the following drugs with caution:

  • Beta Blockers e.g. propranolol.
  • Benzo diazepines e.g. diazepam.
  • Other central nervous system depressants e.g. oxazepam.
  • Muscle relaxants e.g. orphenadrine, diazepam.
  • Local and general anesthetics can also cause problems.

Patients should be advised to conserve energy by slowing down and using aids such as calipers and wheelchairs.

Gentle stretching exercises and relaxation techniques are beneficial.

Referrals to occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and dieticians are important, and alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture have proved to be helpful.

Case study – Geraldine Murray

Geraldine, 65, from Alexandria in West Dunbartonshire, has the symptoms of Post Polio Syndrome.

She was diagnosed with polio in 1949, which affected her spine, legs and arms.

Geraldine spent a year in hospital and when released she had to sleep with splints on her arms and legs, and a plaster cast around her torso. She said: “I felt segregated at school as I was only allowed out for 10 minutes after the other children.