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Inform issue 22 – Autumn 2017

  • Text
  • Products
  • Netball
  • Abilities
  • Spinal
  • Ndis
  • Inform
  • Autumn
  • Disability
  • Australia
  • Polio
In this edition of Inform we celebrate people out in their communities. We meet John who shares with us his determination which resulted in a new creative direction.

polioperspectives What

polioperspectives What symptoms/signs may be related to polio (secondary effects)? Increased wear and tear on joints. Including osteoarthritis, tendonitis, tendon tears, bursitis. When a person has a weak limb, the unaffected or lesser affected leg or arm does more work to compensate, and weakness from polio can lead to arthritis problems in the good limb as well. People who use their arms in place of their legs (crutch walkers, users of canes, manual wheelchair users) put more stress on the joints of the upper extremities than someone who has normal use of their legs, and this can result in damage to cartilage, tendons and ligaments in the wrists, elbows and shoulders. Nerve compression. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused/aggravated by pressure on the heel of the hand and palm from crutches and canes or from propelling a manual wheelchair. Other nerves may also be compressed by abnormal positions of joints and of the vertebrae in the spine. Symptoms of nerve compression are usually a numbness or tingling, an ‘electric shock’ sensation and sometimes progressive weakness in the area of the body supplied by the particular nerve that is being pinched. Increased respiratory problems from increasing curvature of the spine resulting in less room for the lungs and internal organs. Fatigue from increased energy expenditure. Walking with an abnormal gait, use of crutches and propelling a manual wheelchair all require more energy than unimpeded walking. For example, walking with a locked knee can use up 20 percent more energy than walking with an unlocked knee, and walking with two crutches can burn up to twice as much energy as an nondisabled person would use walking the same distance. Headaches. These can be ‘muscle contraction’ headaches that may be caused by chronic overuse of neck muscles, unusual use of neck muscles when doing daily tasks or related to abnormal positions of the neck from muscle imbalance or scoliosis. Headaches, especially upon awakening, can be from inadequate ventilation (breathing) overnight that may be due to respiratory muscle weakness and/or sleep apnea that may or may not be connected to prior polio. Emotional issues. These can include post traumatic stress disorder associated with hospitalizations and medical procedures and/or teasing by childhood peers or dysfunctional family interactions with the person who contracted polio. 30 Inform

polioperspectives What symptoms may be compounded by having had polio (tertiary effects)? High blood pressure and/or coronary heart disease aggravated by weight gain and decreased exercise that were related to limitations imposed by polio. Weight gain (including overweight and obesity) linked to decreased exercise/ activity. Significant obesity, can, of itself, lead to obstructive sleep apnea and restrictive lung disease plus other problems including diabetes, osteoarthritis of hips and knees, etc. Diabetes in susceptible individuals, related to decreased activity and/or weight gain. Skin breakdown, or pressure sores, from prolonged sitting without shifting position, from sleeping in one position due to difficulty turning in bed or from poorly fitting supportive devices (corsets, braces). Situational depression associated with decreased functioning and independence. What symptoms/signs are NOT related to polio? Tremor of arm, leg or head especially when that body part is at rest. Problems with ‘sense organs‘. Vision, hearing, taste, smell. positions around a joint or from crutch/ cane walking or propelling a manual wheelchair and cause these symptoms. Inability to know the position of a part of the body or where it is in space (decreased proprioception). Food getting stuck in the lower esophagus (in the midchest or lower). Abdominal pain or diarrhea. Cancer of any kind. Liver disease. Kidney disease. Most infectious diseases, except perhaps pneumonia in a person with a weak cough or who has swallowing problems and is ‘aspirating’ food into their lungs. Skin rashes, but unrelieved pressure on areas of the skin can cause skin breakdown and redness. Diabetes, but weight gain and decreased activity often worsen blood sugar control in persons with other risk factors for diabetes. Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in the heart, legs, neck, brain, although lifestyle changes induced by polio may increase the likelihood of developing this when added to other risk factors. Seizures. Allergies to medicines or to things in the environment. Dizziness or vertigo, ‘the room spinning’. Sharp, shooting pains or severe burning pain with numbness. Generally, polio does not cause numbness, but nerve compression can result from abnormal Autumn 2017 31