Dr. Isabella Schwartz
Poliomyelitis is a severe viral disease causing paralysis of motor muscles. The diseases was eliminated with the development of the Polio vaccine in 1955, however many survivors are still coping with their handicap since then. In Israel there are approximately 10,000 polio survivors; recently a law was passed in the Knesset arranging national financial support for the survivors.
Many of the polio survivors, now in their 50s and 60s, need help in mobilization including specific equipment such as orthosis and wheel- chairs. Many of them are suffering from post-polio syndrome, also referred to as the late effects of polio.
Typical symptoms of post-polio syndrome can include any one or several of the following in varying degrees: Unusual fatigue, new weakness in muscles both in those originally affected by polio and those seemingly unaffected, pain in muscles or joints, difficulty sleeping, breathing problems, difficulty swallowing, decreased ability to tolerate cold temperatures, decline in ability to conduct usual daily activities.
In our polio and post-polio clinics a senior physiatrist with special expertise in polio and post-polio syndrome evaluates each patient and suggests professional recommendation including ordering appropriate equipment (orthosis, wheel chair and more) for the patient's needs. Polio patients are evaluated in the clinic every 6 months and a customized treatment plans is adjusted to each one according to his abilities in order to preserve muscle strength and prevent overuse.