Shared peer advice from polio survivors about what works for them.

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Exercise – The Basics

Brian Tiburzi

Muscle stretching and joint range-of-motion exercises are important whenever there is muscle weakness. Preventing tightness, where muscles are weak, is important to maximize function and is particularly important in the chest wall and abdominal musculature if there is a limitation of breathing capacity. Preventing tightness in the hip and knee is important to maximize walking ability when there is significant weakness …

Joint Deformities

Brian Tiburzi

Modern biomechanical and gait analyses identify excessive demands being placed on the joints and muscles. Overly strained muscles, tendons, and ligaments wear out. The proper therapeutic approach is to correct any deformities and to reduce excessive strain with appropriate orthoses (bracing), assistive devices (canes, crutches, etc.), changes in lifestyle, or selective reconstructive surgery. Joint deformities are most common in the …


Brian Tiburzi

DON’T LIFT THAT LOAD! I live alone and can’t always wait for my daughter to come over and move things for me. Or I get home from marketing and some of the foods have to make a quick trip to the freezer or refrigerator. As my mobility kept getting worse I turned more and more to using carrying aids. Among …

An Overview of Energy Conservation

Brian Tiburzi

Any person who has a disability uses more energy than a nondisabled person to perform basic activities of daily living (ADL), because tasks are often performed using movement patterns that are not meant to be used. The process of using relatively nondisabled body parts to compensate for muscles that are weak or paralyzed saps energy. If a polio survivor attempts …

Polio’s Effects

Brian Tiburzi

GENERAL INFORMATION LETTER FOR POLIO SURVIVORS Why are “old polios” who were stable for years now losing function? What should they do about it? Jacquelin Perry, MD, DSc (Hon), Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, California The basic problem is that polio destroyed some of the nerve cells that activate the muscles. To the extent possible, the neurological system …

Pain and Using Wheelchair

Brian Tiburzi

Post-Polio Health, Volume 28, Number 1, Winter 2012 Ask Dr. Maynard Frederick M. Maynard, MD“Ask Dr. Maynard,” Post-Polio Health, Volume 28, Number 1, Winter 2012 Question: I have been having a LOT of pain through my butt into my lower back. I looked up muscle groups and think I see what is causing the problem. I sit at my desk nine or so hours …

Regain Strength and Muscle Mass through Exercise

Brian Tiburzi

Post-Polio Health, Volume 26, Number 4, Fall 2010 Ask Dr. Maynard Frederick M. Maynard, MD Question: I read with great interest the question and answer about knees collapsing in Vol. 26, No. 2 ( I had polio at age 1. I’m told that I made a full recovery and that our local doctor used me as an example of a “miraculous” …

Paraplegics and Diabetes

Brian Tiburzi

Post-Polio Health, Volume 27, Number 3, Summer 2011 Ask Dr. Maynard Frederick M. Maynard, MD Question: My physiatrist says that paraplegics have a lot more diabetes, so I started wondering how post-polio and spinal cord injury compare with regard to the disease. Answer: You are right that people with chronic spinal cord injury paralysis do develop glucose metabolism abnormalities and diabetes (by criteria) …

Restless Legs and Polio; Muscles Tears and Polio

Brian Tiburzi

Post-Polio Health, Volume 31, Number 4, Fall 2015 Question: I had what was termed a “mild” case of polio in 1951 at age 7. Other than a barely noticeable curvature of the spine and temporary weakness in the neck, I had no ill effects and was back in full action within a couple months. I played sports throughout high school and …

A Question about Bracing

Brian Tiburzi

Question: What type of brace would you recommend for a post-polio patient with poor strength in the thigh muscles? We are in New Hampshire, USA. Answer: As for your patient, I am going to break down my remarks into two sections, depending on some of the characteristics of your patient. Since your email said your patient had muscle weakness in the thigh, …