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The future of patient management
Osteopathy Australia 19
There is significant opportunity for
osteopaths willing to educate themselves
about the delayed impacts of polio.
CARlA GRoSSEttI, JoURnalist
olio Australia has a new online health resource that will
help better educate osteopaths in their treatment of polio
survivors. National Program Manager of Polio Australia,
Mary-ann Liethof, says she would encourage osteopaths
to use the resource to inform themselves about the late effects of
polio and the role they can play in minimising symptoms. "Any
osteopath who has demonstrated knowledge of the post-polio
condition will be sought out by patients who want relief from
their pain," says Liethof. "The website offers an insight into the
post-polio patient's world and aims to provide facts and valuable
research that raise awareness of the condition."
Liethof says one of the burdens for those who have survived polio
is that the health professionals in the frontline of service provision
may not understand how to manage the Late Effects of Polio (LEoP)
and Post-Polio Syndrome.
She says in order for health professionals to provide the best
therapeutic advice they must first understand the condition and be
prepared to listen to patients. Although not a new condition polio was
an uncommon infection in Australia by the early 1960s. Despite this,
increasing numbers of Australia's 400,000 polio survivors are now
presenting with symptoms.
Liethof explains that knowledge of the LEoP/PPS across the health
sector is limited, which has resulted in widespread issues that include
clinical misdiagnosis, the exacerbation of motor neuron damage due to
poor management and high costs relating to health and disability.
Liethof says osteopaths accessing the site will be investing in their
professional development when they read the evidence-based articles,
clinical practice modules, research papers and community forum.
The poliohealth.org.au site is in the process of establishing an
interdisciplinary listing of health professionals who are familiar with the
late effects of polio. "Osteopathy is a great medium for working with
both bone and muscle aspects of the body. For polio survivors to
have aid of an osteopath is something we encourage because a
lot of people do get great relief from osteopaths," says Liethof.
One of the site's main thrusts is that health professionals need
to be aware of the motor neuronal damage that was done when
the patient contracted the acute infection. "Paralytic polio affects
just one per cent of polio infections, while up to 70 per cent of
people might have suffered sub clinical damage to their motor
neurons. "During the rehabilitation phase, the undamaged motor
neurons send out ‘sprouts’ to assist with muscle innervation. The
key difference with polio survivors is they don't have all their motor
neurons functioning. With age comes natural cell degeneration
and, as the fragile ‘sprouts’ are dying due mainly to overuse, it may
feel as if the person is getting polio all over again," she says.
Liethof says the risk for ageing post-polio patient population
is that they don't think to mention they had polio as it happened
so long ago. "If a post-polio patient presented to an osteopath
who didn't recognise their symptoms, they could make matters
worse. Where there's no motor neuron activity, more damage can
be done by overextending muscles. We want health professionals
to use this site so they understand the symptoms associated with
LEoP, the challenges of living with it and how to empower
post-polio survivors," says Liethof.
"We need educated osteopaths who will help patients continue
to work their muscles safely. Osteopaths are great in assisting polio
survivors to maintain mobility, flexibility and independence as
they age," she says.
“if A pOsT-pOliO pATiEnT
prEsEnTEd TO An OsTEOpATH
WHO didn'T rEcOGnisE THEir
sympTOms, theY could MAke
2/06/2015 3:26 pm
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