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Post-Polio Syndrome

Post-polio syndrome (PPS) is a condition that can develop several decades after a person has had polio (poliomyelitis). PPS affects the muscles and nerves, causing weakness, tiredness, pain, and other symptoms.

Unlike polio, post-polio syndrome is not contagious. Muscles whose nerves were damaged by polio are the ones that are affected by PPS. If the muscles of the throat or chest were affected, for instance, a person may develop swallowing or breathing problems. Symptoms of PPS tend to develop very slowly. In addition to new muscle weakness, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain, symptoms may include sleep problems, reduced ability to tolerate cold temperatures, and increased stress.

Treatment for post-polio syndrome may include a balanced program of rest and exercise, pain medicines, physical therapy, and assistive devices such as canes or braces.

Last Revised: March 8, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology

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