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

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How to Use Crutches on Stairs

Brian Tiburzi

Approach the stairs and have your therapist stand by for safety until confident of abilities. Keep crutches down on lower level and do not place upward on the steps. Push down hard on the crutches with your arms. This lifts the body upward. Then, step up first with your strong leg to the first step! Bring up your weak leg …

Of Crutches and Canes

Brian Tiburzi

Have you thought about using a cane or crutch but dismissed the idea because you’d be self-conscious? Think you’ll look “disabled”? Figure that you’ve gotten along okay without walking aids so far, so why start now? Good question.I know that feeling well and talked about it in “Facing Reality.” But ask yourself if you are really getting along okay. Do …


Brian Tiburzi

Pain can be due to any number of factors ranging from very benign to quite serious. Polio survivors who are experiencing pain should undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation to diagnose its cause. Pain is most often due to overuse of muscles, tendons, ligaments and/or joints, and primary interventions are directed at alleviating or eliminating the overuse factors. Pain syndromes associated …

Why Should You Consider Seeing a PT? Choosing a PT.

Brian Tiburzi

One excellent reason for seeing a PT in the absence of declining physical function is to undergo a well-rounded baseline evaluation against which future problems might be measured. Individuals who have not experienced recent functional decline may seek the services of a PT so that they may be educated in ways to minimize the effects of their polio problems on …

Prescription for Pain

Brian Tiburzi

Sunny Roller, MA, Michigan New pain, muscle weakness and general fatigue are common complaints of post-polio individuals who fought polio once and won, but are now reluctantly having to return to rehabilitation after a 30-40 year reprieve. Along with muscle weakness and fatigue, new pain is the most common complaint of people with the late effects of polio. It is …

PPS Pain and Fatigue

Brian Tiburzi

Linda Cannon Rowan When I complain to my doctor about pain or fatigue, he usually tells me that I am not getting enough rest. I GET SO TIRED OF HEARING THAT I NEED TO REST! BUT I KNOW THAT I MUST! A day without pain is rare. I was told when I was first diagnosed not to do anything to …

Options When a Post-Polio Clinic Is Not an Option

Brian Tiburzi

Carol Vandenakker, MD Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation University of California, Davis, Health System Sacramento, California Presented at PHI’s 9th International Conference: Strategies for Living Well (June 2005) A. You must start with a good primary care physician. 1. Keys to finding a good doctor: a. Look for a physician you trust and can communicate with. b. Identify the best hospitals …

“Taping” for Shoulder Pain

Brian Tiburzi

From the series, Polio Survivors Ask, by Nancy Baldwin Carter, B.A, M.Ed.Psych, from Omaha, Nebraska, is a polio survivor, a writer, and is founder and former director of Nebraska Polio Survivors Association. Q: I have a significant pain problem in my shoulder and I’ve heard about a special taping technique used by athletes. What’s the deal? Could it help me? A: Kinesio® Taping …

Aging Well with Post-Polio Syndrome: Dealing with Pain

Brian Tiburzi

Researchers at the University of Washington’s Aging Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Chronic pain is something that many people, including many individuals with post-polio syndrome (PPS), face on a day-today basis. In fact, from the preliminary results of our recent survey of post-polio people, we found that 373 out of 419, or 89 percent, reported at least some daily pain. …

Pain and the Pain Patch

Brian Tiburzi

Frederick Maynard, MD, retired physiatrist Pain control in people with postpolio problems is highly individualized because there is no one source of pain. I would NOT endorse the use of a Duragesic patch (fentanyl transdermal system) for long-existing pain in a person with PPS because I think it is a “dead end” in regard to long lasting relief from pain. …