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What Having Had Polio Causes, Might Cause and Does Not Cause

Brian Tiburzi

Introduction: As time has elapsed since the major poliomyelitis epidemics ended, following the widespread introduction of the polio vaccines, persons affected by polio, their families and their healthcare providers seem to have less and less clear understanding about what symptoms are caused by polio, which are associated with polio and which are not. Many healthcare providers in practice today have …

Polio Doctors

Brian Tiburzi

There is no official certification for a “polio doctor.” The most common use of this informal designation is a physician with knowledge, experience and interest in evaluation and treatment of polio survivors. Given the most common new disabling medical problems of polio survivors, physicians with expertise in neuromuscular disease management that includes the ability to recognize and treat chronic musculoskeletal …


Brian Tiburzi

Technically, post-polio syndrome is not the same condition as Post-Polio Sequelae/ the late effects of polio. Post-polio syndrome is usually considered a specific new condition. A diagnosis of exclusion is used to determine if a patient has PPS. This means if a survivor of polio is found to have osteoarthritis, for example, that is what the diagnosis will be – osteoarthritis, not PPS. Because …


Brian Tiburzi

The criteria for diagnosing post-polio syndrome include: a prior episode of paralytic polio confirmed by medical history, neurologic examination, and, if needed, an electrodiagnostic exam to show changes consistent with prior anterior horn cell disease (exam is not required for limbs with obvious polio paralysis); a period of neurologic recovery followed by an extended interval of neurologic and functional stability, …


Brian Tiburzi

New muscle weakness is the hallmark of post-polio syndrome and can significantly impact activities of daily living. Some amount of new muscle weakness is likely to occur in about half of post-polio individuals (Jubelt & Drucker, 1999). Muscle weakness is most likely to occur in muscles previously affected during the acute poliomyelitis followed by a partial or full recovery (Cashman …

ICD Codes

Brian Tiburzi

The International Classification of Diseases is a clinical cataloging system of alphanumeric designations given to every diagnosis, description of symptoms and cause of death attributed to human beings. It means that each diagnosis a human being may be given has a code, a numbered designation, that goes with it. That code means that every medical professional in the United States …


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 …


Brian Tiburzi

Jane Dummer, Maryland I am qualified to speak about fatigue because I fade right after lunch. When I agreed to speak, I realized very quickly I was going to discuss something which is global, yet something I really cannot define for you. So what am I going to say? Fatigue is a normal part of living. Perhaps I can say …

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 …

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 …