Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a motor neuron disease. Motor neurons are found in the brain & spinal cord. ALS is a progressive, neurological disease, which means it gets worse over time. As ALS progresses, these cells degenerate & die. It causes dysfunction in the nerves that control your muscles movement which gets harder for you to walk, talk, eat & breathe. In time, the inability to breathe unsupported can lead to respiratory failure. ALS is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who had the condition. Most patients with ALS lives for 3 to 5 years after first experiencing symptoms, but around 10 percent of patients will live for another 10 years or longer.

There is no cure for this condition as such, but physical therapy treatment can relieve symptoms & improve quality of life.

Causes and types of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Researchers still don’t know the exact reason what causes ALS. Gene changes, or mutations, are behind 5% to 10% of ALS cases. More than 12 different gene changes have been linked to ALS.

However, some possible causes are-

  • Gene defects
  • Defective glutamate metabolism
  • Autoimmune and inflammatory mechanisms
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Programmed cell death or apoptosis
  • Accumulation of protein aggregates (clumps)
  • Cytoskeletal protein defects
  • Viral infections

Signs & symptoms

In the early stages of ALS, the symptoms can be minor that they are overlooked. Common symptoms include:

  • Impairment in the use of arms and legs
  • Cramping & twitching in the muscles, especially those in the hands and feet
  • Difficulty carrying out daily activities, including walking
  • Weakness in the muscles of hands, arms, feets or legs
  • Increased clumsiness
  • Difficulty in projecting the voice
  • Uncontrolled outbursts of laughing or crying, known as emotional ability
  • Weakness in the muscles that control speech, difficulty in swallowing or breathing
  • Difficulty maintaining good posture & holding the head up

Physical Therapy at SOS PHYSIO Rehab

Physical therapy at SOS PHYSIO Rehab can help people with ALS manage pain & address mobility issues. Our physical therapist can provide help with low-impact exercises to enhance cardiovascular fitness, provides mobility aids, such as walkers or wheelchairs. There are many physical therapy treatments such as Manual therapy & Active Release Techniques (ART) are found to be very effective in treating this type of disorder.
For more information- Contact your local SOS PHYSIO clinic.

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