Aquatic therapy is best. No one is quite sure how the muscles of those of us with ALS heals. When n you lengthen the muscle against a force (gravity) it is called an eccentric contraction. That causes micro-tears in the muscle, which is how regular people increase muscle mass. In the water, there are no eccentric contractions, so it give is stamina and flexibility. Also, if we fall, all we get is wet. Shoe in the pool are a must, and many Y's have ramps and lifts. My ALS clinic gave VERY specific instructions NOT to try to strengthen me, but it work for balance and stretching as well. I was lucky enough to find a neurological PT group, so they had treated ALS patients before. Any one who hasn't may do more harm then good.
Yes, it does. But make sure your PALS has a physical therapist who knows about ALS and what should and shouldn't be done. I went to a PT who had NO CLUE and they had me doing all kinds of things that were more hurtful than helpful. The PT at the ALS clinic was much more helpful as to what kinds of stretches and exercises are beneficial, so I would start with your PALS clinic PT for guidance. If you guys are looking for someone to see weekly, hopefully the clinic PT can recommend someone that is experienced in working with ALS patients. Good luck!
Yes it really really helps. I was trained on the correct therapy for my PALS and it has been so valuable. He is reassessed every other month. Correct leg stretches have kept his legs flexible and relieve pressure from other areas, especially his hips and bottom from being in one position. His fingers have gone from quite tight to fairly relaxed. As glupa.... said the correct therapy is important - incorrect stretching is not a good thing.
I agree to make sure your PT knows ALS. I was doing too much and had no energy for anything else, plus I think it harmed me a little in that I seemed to lose some dexterity/strength. I've been encouraged to work out in the pool and that's been really good for me. Helps my range of motion a lot with less pain.
Range of motion exercises are invaluable to keep muscles somewhat flexible. If muscles get frozen in one position it can cause pain. So yes, correct physical therapy for PALS is very good. The can show PALS and CALS how to keep the PALS somewhat limber.
one of the first things we boought after diagnosed was a message table, it adjust down so after two yrs i can still get on it and it makes rom and stretching easier on my cals. we also put a heated matteress pad on it on the advice of my nieces(both massage therapists) makes stretching even nicer when ur muscles r warm.
as a retired (3/12) occupational therapist (40+yrs) one of my last pt.'s was a man with ALS whose children could not and would not accept his diagnosed.of ALS. he had seen a local neurologist who performed the blood work, MRI's, EMG's and then was given a 2nd opinion at Shands Neurology, Univ. of Fl., Gainesville, Fl., with further and more extensive testing performed. the initial diagnosed was MMN and a course of IVIG ther. was given with no positive results and the subsequent ALS diagnosed followed.
the children will not accept it. this is very stressful for the pt. they are pressuring him to go for more tests as they feel it could be a "100 diff. things". they encourage mayo, johns-hopkins, emory etc and on and on and when the diagnosed comes back the same, will want him to go to europe next.
how can these children be led to believe the true diagnosed of their father and that is IS ALS, accept it, and be supportive of him? why cont. the huge expenses of traveling the country and world and use up all of his funds?
any ideas or suggestions our there?
isn't it ironic that, after treating and working with ALS for so many yrs, I now have it ?! on many sites the recommendation is: consult your local occupational therapist for suggestions and information. lololol I AM the local OT !
PT is absolutely essential for me! Early on, I did a moderate exercise regimen, the advice from my clinic re intensity was that within an hour afterwards I should feel sufficiently rested. But everyone's different, so do check. As I've gotten weaker, now the 3x/wk sessions are range of motion mostly, though I still pedal the stationary bike for 15 minutes too, some days slower than others. My PT is great, has learned the disease along with me.
P.s. Hopeangel, might want to copy your post to a new thread, it's completely different subject than the original thread.