Did you know there are more than 30 different types of muscular dystrophy?
The term ‘Muscular Dystrophy’ refers to a group of genetic neuromuscular disorders. These conditions cause a gradual process of muscle weakening, impacting the muscles responsible for your body’s movement and control.
Unfortunately, at this time, there’s no cure for muscular dystrophy and the condition itself can’t be reversed, however muscular dystrophy physiotherapy may help to slow the progression of the condition, manage pain, and maintain your quality of life.
At Valens Care, we take a special interest in neuromuscular disorders. We’ll provide you with ongoing physiotherapy care, whether you’ve recently received your diagnosis or have been living with the condition for some time.
Here we explain what physiotherapy for muscular dystrophy involves, and how the Valens Care team could help you.
Muscular dystrophy explained
There are many genes involved in making the proteins that build and repair your muscle fibres.
In muscular dystrophy, one of these genes is mutated or doesn’t work properly, which can change your muscle fibres and can affect your muscle’s ability to function.
While the main symptom of muscular dystrophy is progressive muscle weakening, the condition can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the type of muscular dystrophy. Some common symptoms include:
- Delayed growth & walking in children
- Loss of ability to walk
- Clumsiness and falling frequently
- Wasted muscles
- Large calf muscles
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Learning disabilities
- Walking on the toes
Why is physiotherapy for Muscular Dystrophy important?
Muscular dystrophy physiotherapy aims to slow your disease progression, help you manage pain, promote your independence, improve, and protect your quality of life.
At Valens Care, we use hands-on physical therapies, individually tailored exercise prescriptions, education, and advice to help you manage the symptoms of your condition.
Physiotherapy for muscular dystrophy aims to:
- Keep you moving- Muscular dystrophy physiotherapy is centred around maintaining and enhancing your mobility. Through a combination of individually tailored exercises, mobility aids, and expert support, we aim to help you get around more easily and confidently.
- Improve your endurance– Endurance is a vital component of maintaining an active life. Physiotherapy is geared towards building your endurance, to help you engage in activities for longer periods without experiencing excessive fatigue.
- Prevent joint stiffness– Stiffness in muscles and joints is a common challenge in muscular dystrophy. Our physiotherapy interventions focus on preventing stiffness through a combination of stretching exercises, range of motion exercises, and hands-on therapies.
- Prevent or reduce contractures– Contractures, or the shortening and tightening of your muscles, can limit your range of motion and make performing daily activities harder. Muscular dystrophy physiotherapy includes stretches, exercises, and manual therapy to reduce contractures, helping you maintain flexibility and functionality.
- Preserve and improve your strength– Building and preserving muscle strength is a cornerstone of muscular dystrophy physiotherapy. Your customised exercise program will target specific muscle groups, enhancing their strength and maintaining your flexibility and range of motion. This is essential for making everyday tasks easier and supporting your independence.
- Improve your balance and correct your posture– Muscle weakness in muscular dystrophy can affect your balance and posture. Physiotherapy treatment for muscular dystrophy includes exercises that improve your balance and posture, aiming to reduce your risk of falling and improve your capacity to manage uneven surfaces like hills, gravel, and grass.
- Provide advice on supports and aids- Your physiotherapist can provide advice on improving your functional ability, comfort, and safety by using supports such as wheelchairs, walking aids and supportive braces.
- Support your emotional well-being– Living with muscular dystrophy can take an emotional toll. Our approach extends beyond the physical; we’re here to provide emotional support and strategies to cope with the challenges you may face.
The Valens Care difference
With consistent physiotherapy support, we can work together to help you manage your condition and reach your maximum potential.
At Valens Care, we provide NDIS-funded mobile physiotherapy services, designed with you in mind.
We’re dedicated to crafting care that’s tailored to your unique needs while setting realistic goals that align with your abilities and limitations. We’ll support you throughout your journey, continually assessing your needs and adjusting your treatment plan as they change.
To learn more about how the physiotherapists at Valens Care can help you manage your muscular dystrophy, give us a call.
* All information is general and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Valens Care can consult with you regarding your individual health needs.
Better Health Channel. (2022). Muscular Dystrophy. www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/muscular-dystrophy
Healthdirect. (2022). Muscular Dystrophy. www.healthdirect.gov.au/muscular-dystrophy
Muscular Dystrophy Australia. (2023). Physiotherapy. www.mda.org.au/physiotherapy
Muscular Dystrophy Australia. (2023). What is Muscular Dystrophy? www.mda.org.au/whatismusculardystrophy
Physiopedia. (n.d.). Muscular Dystrophy. www.physio-pedia.com/Muscular_Dystrophy