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Physical therapy for Guillian Barre Syndrome

Author: Dr. Shwetanjali Gandhe - Physiotherapy Or Physiohealth  

Guillain Barre Syndrome, though a very rare disease has serious manifestations and occurs mostly during adulthood rather than childhood. Guillain Barre syndrome is a manifestation of a virus affecting the nerves and is a peripheral nerve disorder. Its symptoms are diagnosed by a sudden weakness in the limbs where the virus may have attacked and gradually covering other peripheral areas if not started medications immediately. The patient has to confine to a hospital as soon as the symptoms appear.

Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Weakness in the affected area
  • Mild paralysis
  • Sensory loss in the affected area & pain
  • Other symptoms include sweating, palpitations & blood pressure.

The prognosis of the disease starts around from the 4th week. With other medications to support the severity of the virus affecting the body, it is also essential to improve muscle wasting, build up chest muscles, and help patient recover physically.

Physical therapy plays an important role to help recover from the physical manifestations of this disease. Physiotherapy can be started after 4 weeks of its prognosis. Patients can be continued full ROM everyday to prevent joint contractures and muscle shortening. With the help of muscle strengthening exercises the lost vitality of the muscles can be brought back.

Isometric and Isokinetic exercises activate muscle strengthening and help to regain posture and build up chest muscles to avoid breathing muscles to collapse. Physiotherapy also teaches mobility, bed transfers and ambulation with minimal help. Gradual gait training (training a patient how to walk safely) is taught with the help of crutches and other walking aids to enable the patient to walk independently.

Physiotherapy also revises the need of orthotic management. An overall functional recovery is initiated with the help of physiotherapy.

Last reviewed at: 07.Sep.2018

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