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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disease characterised by gradual deterioration of nerve cells that control muscle movement. ALS causes muscle weakness and wasting (atrophy) in the muscles that we voluntarily control. At Liverpool Neuro physiotherapy treatment is used to help reduce the physical impairments associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrigs disease is a progressive illness affecting the nerve cells (neurons) located in the central nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis causes neurons in the brain and spinal cord to waste away or die. As a result of their death, the neurons can no longer transmit messages to the muscles and the brain loses its ability to initiate and control muscle movement. The disruption in muscle control eventually leads to a severe weakening of the muscles. Around 10% of ALS cases are caused by a genetic defect, but in the other 90% the cause is unknown.
At Liverpool Neuro Physio we aim to maximise your quality of life throughout the course of your amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Your physiotherapist will provide you with the quality of care you need in order to address the functional difficulties that may arise as a result of ALS. Your physiotherapist can advise you on appropriate exercises and stretches to manage your condition, the provision of equipment to assist your independence, and breathing exercises to retain a clear chest.
During the beginning of your amyotrophic lateral sclerosis your symptoms are often unnoticeable. This can result in your condition being overlooked. Depending upon the presentation of your symptoms and the progression of your particular illness, the development of your disease may include the following features:
Muscle weakness, particularly in the muscles of the hands, arms and legs.
Cramping and twitching of muscles, particularly those of the extremities such as the hands and feet.
Loss of function in the limbs.
The muscles involved in speech, swallowing and breathing can also be affected. Therefore if your ALS is more advanced you may experience shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
ALS only attacks motor neurones. Motor neurons are nerve cells that control essential voluntary muscle activity such as speaking, walking, breathing, and swallowing. As a result individuals with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis do not lose their ability to see, hear, taste, touch / feel or smell. The muscles of the eyes and bladder remain unaffected by ALS for most people.
At Liverpool Neuro Physio your physiotherapist will work with you to produce a programme of treatment in which the goals and targets set are specifically designed for the management of your symptoms. The treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis varies from person to person depending upon their symptoms. Treatment can include:
Physiotherapy is an essential component in the management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. At Liverpool Neuro Physio your physiotherapist will aim to address the functional difficulties that may arise as a result of ALS in order to maximise your muscle strength, functional ability and general health. The intensity of exercise will vary from person to person depending on the stage of ALS.
At Liverpool Neuro Physio your physiotherapist will thoroughly explain and demonstrate your exercise plans to you and your family / carers to ensure you get the best out of your treatment, and provide you with the advice and guidance you need in order to manage your condition.
Benefits of physiotherapy may include:
If you suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis then our physiotherapists at Liverpool Neuro Physio can help you to manage your condition.