Treatment

There's no one treatment for the various signs and symptoms of post-polio syndrome. The goal of treatment is to manage your symptoms and help make you as comfortable and independent as possible:

  • Energy conservation. This involves pacing your physical activity and resting frequently to reduce fatigue. Assistive devices — such as a cane, walker, wheelchair or motor scooter — can help you conserve energy. Having a shower grab bar or raised toilet seat installed also might help. A therapist can show you ways to breathe that help conserve energy.
  • Physical therapy. Your doctor or therapist may prescribe exercises for you that strengthen your muscles without fatiguing them. These usually include less strenuous activities, such as swimming or water aerobics, that you perform every other day at a relaxed pace.

    Exercising to maintain fitness is important, but avoid overusing your muscles and joints and exercising to the point of pain or fatigue.

  • Speech therapy. A speech therapist can show you ways to compensate for swallowing difficulties. Voice strengthening exercises might also be helpful.
  • Sleep apnea treatment. You might need to change your sleeping patterns, such as avoiding sleeping on your back, or use a device that helps open your airway when you sleep.
  • Medications. Pain relievers — such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) — might ease muscle and joint pain.