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J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2009 Oct;13(4):328-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2008.04.040. Epub 2008 Jul 10.

Interdisciplinary palliative care, including massage, in treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Author information

  • Meridians-A Center for the Healing Arts, 321 Main Street, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, USA. kendrablatzheim@comcast.ne

Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive fatal neurological disease that affects approximately 20,000 Americans. Symptoms include muscle weakness, fatigue, twitching, atrophy, spasticity, pain, oropharyngeal dysfunction, pseudobulbar affect, weight loss, and respiratory impairment. Death occurs within 3-5 yr after onset of symptoms, with diagnosis taking from 11 to 17.5 months. The only FDA-approved drug for ALS is Riluzole, which only increases the life expectancy by a few months. All other treatments for ALS provide symptom management to improve the patient's quality of life. An interdisciplinary palliative care team for the ALS patient helps to reduce the stress that the illness places on families. Massage can be a useful adjunctive treatment for spasticity and pain when medication side effects are unwanted. A holistic interdisciplinary palliative care team supports both the patient and the family improving their quality of life.

PMID:
19761955
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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