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Muscular Dystrophy


The neurological physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio commonly treat conditions such as muscular dystrophy.



What is muscular dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy is a condition that gradually causes the muscles of the body to weaken. Muscular dystrophy is a genetic (inherited) condition. The gradual decrease in muscle strength eventually results on disability. There is no cure. Muscular dystrophy is caused by mutations in genes responsible for structure and function of a person's muscle development.

Physiotherapy is beneficial to anyone who suffers from muscular dystrophy. Muscular dystrophy causes muscle weakness and loss. The physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio will help you maintain your function for as long as possible. They can also help you at any stage to maximise your quality of life.


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Types of muscular dystrophy

There are over thirty types of muscular dystrophy which may affect different parts of the body. Some of the more common types of muscular dystrophy are stated below:

Duchenne muscular dystrophy

this is the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy. The muscles around the pelvis and thighs tend to be affected first and it may then progress to other muscle groups. They may also develop a scoliosis. Eventually it can lead to respiratory and heart problems.

Becker muscular dystrophy

this is related to Duchenne but is milder and less common. It tends to affect more boys. It may not be diagnosed until the age of 10 or 11. As they get older they may find that they need to use a wheelchair because of disability.

Myotonic muscular dystrophy

also involves a slow progression of muscle weakness and wasting. However it tends to affect the smaller muscles before affecting the larger ones. This type of muscular dystrophy can cause irregularities in the heart. Myotonic dystrophy can appear at any age and the rate of deterioration is very slow.

Limb girdle muscular dystrophy

this usually develops in late childhood/early adulthood. It causes main weakness in the larger muscles groups such as the legs or arms. It can eventually lead to a fair amount of disability in a person suffering from it.

Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy

this type of muscular dystrophy occurs between the age of 10 and 40 and is slow to progress. It can develop unevenly so that one side of your body is affected more than the other.

Oculopharyngeal dystrophy

with this type of muscular dystrophy, a person may not have any symptoms until the age of 40-50. It affects the eyes and throat. It can cause droopy eyelids and other optical problems. It can also affect your swallowing.


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Effects of muscular dystrophy

The symptoms of muscular dystrophy will vary in each individual depending on the type and severity of the disease. Some of the common symptoms include:

Muscle cramp

This is most common when doing exercise mainly in a sufferer of Becker muscular dystrophy

Irregular heart rhythm

This is most common with myotonic muscular dystrophy because the heart muscle is affected.

Muscle weakness

This is common in all types of muscular dystrophy as this is the main characteristic of the illness. Different types of muscular dystrophy will cause different muscles to weaken, or progressively most of the muscles may weaken.

Muscle wasting

Eventually when a muscle becomes very weak and is not used it will lead to weakness. This occurs mainly when someone is suffering from a severe form of the illness. Muscle wasting will lead to disability.

Difficulty with swallowing

Mainly associated with oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy as the pharyngeal area is affected this is the one that deals with swallowing.


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Physiotherapy for muscular dystrophy

Our physiotherapists Liverpool Neuro Physio commonly treat people who suffer from muscular dystrophy. The physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio have specialist knowledge on conditions such as muscular dystrophy. Your physiotherapist will work with you to produce a treatment plan specific to your needs and targets. At Liverpool Neuro Physio the physiotherapists understand the complications of your condition will ensure your treatment is to the best quality as possible. Physiotherapy treatment will vary between individuals but some of your treatment may include the following:



Physiotherapy for mild to moderate muscular dystrophy

Treatment sessions will vary from individual to individual depending on the severity of the illness. For more mild symptoms you may not be as disabled and may still be able to cope quite independently without much help. Our physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio will work on maintaining this level of independence with the use of physiotherapy techniques. Physiotherapy is extremely important to help keep progression of your illness as slow as possible.

It is extremely important for you to keep your joints as flexible as possible. Your physiotherapist will work on doing this by providing you with the necessary stretching and strengthening exercises for your muscles. This maintenance of muscles and joints will prevent you from suffering from any pain you may feel. It is important to keep the most range of movement at your joints as possible to ensure you are able to continue with your normal tasks by doing this.

To be as independent as possible you may require assistant aids around your home. Your physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio can provide you with an assessment in your home to see if you need any adaptations and can provide you with these at home if required to make you independent as possible. Your physiotherapist will provide you with any advice and guidance on your condition and how to maintain it. Your physiotherapist will be happy to help and guide you with the therapy and only wants you to get the most out of your treatment to make you feel more confident in coping alone.

Physiotherapy for severe muscular dystrophy

Physiotherapy is extremely important for those who suffer from muscular dystrophy. Our physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio understand how difficult it can be to live with the effects of muscular dystrophy. We are able to deal with problems you have by working with you taking into consideration any secondary complications you may suffer from. The main aim will be to maximise your quality of life. Some of the following aims of your treatment will differ to a person suffering with the mild stages of muscular dystrophy. Your treatment will work more on maintaining what you have by:



Physiotherapy will differ in each individual. Those who suffer from severe muscular dystrophy will need physiotherapy to try and maintain flexibility at your joints and prevent any muscle contractures from developing. You will benefit from gentle physiotherapy exercise therapy to maintain as much movement and flexibility as possible.

When your mobility begins to get worse and your condition leads you to disability it is important for you to be as independent as possible. The best way for this is to provide you with the necessary equipment you may require for you to continue daily. This may include walking aids, wheelchair or any adaptive equipment you may need in your home to make everyday life easier for yourself.

You may also require input from other healthcare professionals, at Liverpool Neuro Physio we can provide you with any necessary referrals to other healthcare professionals while you continue with your physiotherapy.

The physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio understand that you may suffer with other complications in relation to your illness. It can affect you mood and how your feeling. Physiotherapy is a great way of encouraging you to do your best and it can motivate you to want to be the most independent you can. Your physiotherapist will help you to do this.

At Liverpool Neuro Physio we understand that it may not just be physical symptoms you may be suffering. Your physiotherapist will help to motivate and encourage you along the way.



To arrange an appointment or to speak to one of our specialists, call us on 0151 558 0188 or email office@liverpoolneurophysio.co.uk.


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