Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurological disease that typically begins in the hands, feet and extremities, then progresses centrally. People may first discover that they have difficulty walking, tripping or poor balance. In addition, people may notice that they have weakness in their hands or legs, along with occasional muscle cramps.
As the disease progresses, it affects walking, use of the arms, speaking, swallowing and breathing muscles. While there is no cure for ALS, maintaining independence and function as long as possible is the goal of the rehabilitation team. Safety with walking and adaptation of assistive devices is critical to prevent secondary complications such as fractures from falls.
How Physical Therapy helps?
Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy typically coordinate as a team for people with ALS, depending on their severity of symptoms and progression of the disease. Physical therapy focuses on improving and maintaining range of motion, strength, stamina, walking and balance. In addition, our Fort Worth physical therapists will focus on making recommendations for adaptive equipment such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, braces and other devices. The goal of physical therapy is to maintain safety with walking and independence for as long as possible.