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What is muscular dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy refers to a group of inherited muscle disorders characterised by progressive muscle weakness. It is caused by a genetic abnormality which affects the muscle structure and function which over time leads to increasing disability. Although there are over one hundred types of muscular dystrophy the most common types that usually present in childhood are:
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy � affects mainly boys and is the most severe and common form of muscular dystrophy. Symptoms are usually apparent by age three
  • Becker muscular dystrophy � milder and less common than duchenne's. Symptoms may not present until age ten or eleven

Core stability and strengthening exercises assisted by a paediatric physiotherapistAbove: Core stability and strengthening exercises assisted by a paediatric physiotherapist

What are the symptoms of muscular dystrophy?

As there are many types of muscular dystrophies there is a wide variation in symptoms, however some of the likely symptoms are:
  • Progressive muscle weakness and wasting usually in the lower limbs first causing problems with standing, walking, climbing stairs and participating in sport etc.
  • Muscle cramps and spasm
  • Poor balance, frequent falls
  • Altered walking pattern
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Respiratory problems

Physiotherapist using taping to help stabilise the muscles in the upper back during activityAbove: Physiotherapist using taping to help stabilise the muscles in the upper back during activity

How can physiotherapy help muscular dystrophy?

Physiotherapy for muscular dystrophy aims to maximise a person's quality of life and independence for as long as possible and may include:
  • Exercises to maintain joint range of movement and soft tissue length
  • Strengthening exercises to maintain muscle strength for as long as possible
  • Advice regarding appropriate mobility aids and equipment to maintain independence
  • Anticipating and minimising secondary complications that may occur
  • Providing support with respiratory problems to maintain a clear chest
  • Referral to other health professionals such as occupational therapists if appropriate
  • Liaison with family and carers on safe manual handling techniques

Why Manchester Physio?

  • No waiting lists for treatment
  • Treatment at any stage of the condition
  • Knowledgeable staff
  • Referral to occupational therapy if appropriate
  • Dedicated, patient centred approach
  • Specialist physiotherapists
  • Motivated, caring staff
  • Proven track record
We understand that the effects of muscular dystrophy can be distressing for both the child and parents. Our team of specialist paediatric physiotherapists can provide assessment and treatment for your child in order to maximise their potential and improve quality of life throughout their condition.

Manchester Physio can provide treatment of children or adolescents with muscular dystrophy across Greater Manchester and Cheshire. We can provide assessment and treatment at our clinic, a child's school or at your home for your convenience.

See our testimonials to read about the experiences of current and past patients.

To find out more please contact us or arrange a free phone consultation.

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