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NeuroRehabilitation. 2007;22(6):451-61.

The role of physical therapy and occupational therapy in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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  • 1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neuromuscular disease for which there is no cure. There is a general misunderstanding among healthcare professionals of the proper use and potential benefits of physical and occupational therapy to treat the symptoms and resulting loss of independence. These services can help maximize mobility and comfort through equipment prescription, activity adaptation, patient and family education, and the use of appropriate exercise and range of motion techniques. The literature is controversial on the prescription of exercise in this population. Individual muscle strength, fatigue and spasticity must all be taken into account when discussing exercise with persons with ALS. It can be concluded that physical and occupational therapy intervention is beneficial to persons with ALS. However, more research is needed to decisively determine the effects of exercise on the person with ALS.

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