Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation

This Section looks at ways physiotherapy can be used to assist a person achieve or maintain their functional ability so they can have a good quality of life. The term functional ability can be used to explain someone’s ability to perform daily activities and tasks like sitting up, using the toilet, getting dressed, eating, or climbing the stairs.

Tightening of joints (contractures) is commonly seen in people who have SMA and it can lead to pain and difficulty moving. Areas of the body usually affected are the shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Contractures and other effects of SMA can be alleviated by having regular access to physiotherapy sessions. Whatever the impact of their SMA, children, young people and adults should be given support, advice and equipment so that they can do as much as possible for themselves. You can generally expect a physiotherapist (PT) and occupational therapist (OT) to design and demonstrate appropriate individualised exercises. They will also advise or provide equipment and adaptations to make mobility activities and daily living easier. Families and adults are usually shown how to assist with stretches and exercises and use equipment so that regular physiotherapy can be fitted into daily routines.

Throughout this Section as we outline the SoC recommendations, we also include the SoC’s prescriptive information about how long orthoses should be worn and how often stretches should be carried out. Always remember a PT or specialist will be able to provide you with an individualised plan.