Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a neurologic disorder that produces a group of symptoms in persons who had paralytic polio many years earlier. Because these symptoms tend to occur together, they are called a syndrome. Typically, symptoms arise after a period of functional and neurological stability of at least 15 years after the initial episode of polio and include:

  • New weakness in the muscles previously affected by polio, as well as in muscles thought to be unaffected by the original illness
  • Pain in the muscles or joints
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased endurance and function
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Swallowing problems
  • Cold intolerance

Some PPS symptoms (such as weakness, fatigue, and atrophy) appear to be caused by a progressive degeneration or impairment of motor units. Other symptoms (such as muscle and joint pain) are more likely the result of excessive wear and tear on different parts of the musculoskeletal system. This wear and tear can be brought on or worsen when muscles become weaker.

MedStar Health offers a comprehensive, initial evaluation by an interdisciplinary team designed to identify problems and to rule out other causes of new health problems. At the end of the evaluation, the team provides each patient with a written plan of treatment and individualized recommendations to help

  • Reduce fatigue and pain
  • Modify daily energy expenditure
  • Develop a therapeutic exercise plan
  • Provide aids, devices, and bracing to support weakened muscles
  • Develop new strategies to improve ambulation and/or wheelchair mobility
  • Educate family and friends