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Clin Rehabil. 2010 May;24(5):387-97. doi: 10.1177/0269215509357848.

Rehabilitation in practice: management of lower motor neuron weakness.

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St George's School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, St George's University of London and Kingston University, UK.


This series of articles for rehabilitation in practice aims to cover a knowledge element of the rehabilitation medicine curriculum. Nevertheless they are intended to be of interest to a multidisciplinary audience. The competency addressed in this article is 'The trainee consistently demonstrates a knowledge of the pathophysiology of various specific impairments including lower motor neuron weakness' and 'management approaches for specific impairments including lower motor neuron weakness'.This article explores weakness as a lower motor symptom. Weakness as a primary impairment of neuromuscular diseases is addressed, with recognition of the phenomenon of disuse atrophy, and how weakness impacts on the functional abilities of people with myopathy and neuropathy. Interventions to reduce weakness or address the functional consequences of weakness are evaluated with consideration of safety and clinical application.


This paper will allow readers to: (1) appraise the contribution of research in rehabilitation of lower motor neuron weakness to clinical decision making and (2) engage with the issues that arise when researching rehabilitation interventions for lower motor neuron weakness.


Impairments associated with neuromuscular conditions can lead to significant functional difficulties that can impact on a person's daily participation. This article focuses on the primary impairment of weakness and explores the research evidence for rehabilitation interventions that directly influence weakness or address the impact of weakness on function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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