The ALS Association defines ALS as a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. As these motor neurons are lost, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is impaired.
How can physical therapy help?
PT can help to preserve existing capabilities and prevent further loss of motion. PT can also prevent joint pain or joint stiffness related to the disease. By evaluating each patient’s joint range of motion, strength and functional mobility skills, a PT can provide guidance for daily tasks such as walking or standing from a chair. Aerobic exercise for cardiovascular fitness, stretching exercises, range of motion activities, and mild functional strengthening exercises may be typical parts of PT treatment.