Physical Therapist Resource Pages

  • Patient and Parent Perspectives on the Use of Nusinersen for Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    At the end of 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved nusinersen for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).1 Because of the high threshold for FDA approval, an abundance of data on nusinersen and its physiological effects on SMA patients has been collected in recent years. However, given […]

  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy – Pre-Symptomatic Intervention 

    The recently published Standards of Care for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) promote more proactive and earlier approaches to the management of patients with severe SMA.1 These recommendations are likely based on the promising results of recent clinical trials that suggest that more effective treatments for SMA may be […]

  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Awareness and Attitudes

    There is a paucity of information on awareness of and attitudes towards spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and medical approaches to the disease.1,2 However, research into what is known about SMA has revealed that the public is largely unfamiliar with SMA, and even physicians and other healthcare providers have a limited […]

  • Assistive Devices and Equipment: Oxygenation and Breathing 

    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is associated with serious respiratory system complications,1 and pulmonary disease is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in both SMA type 1 and SMA type 2 patients.2 Given the frequency and extent of oxygenation and breathing challenges in SMA patients, a number of assistive […]

  • Assistive Devices and Equipment in Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Braces

    Braces are one amongst a number of rehabilitation techniques that are used in those with neuromuscular disorders like spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).1 Their effectiveness is thought to vary depending on the individual case. Children with SMA may have spinal braces as an intervention for scoliosis,2–6 or they may […]

  • Speech Therapy in Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, speech therapists work to improve human communication, swallowing difficulties, and disorders of upper aerodigestive functioning.1 Given that the same muscles are used for speech, swallowing, and clearing the airway, the role of speech therapists is to […]

  • Pain Management in Spinal Muscular Atrophy

    Increased pain is significantly associated with lower levels of health, social function, and vitality.1 The results of studies on animal models of neuropathic pain suggest that the abnormal excitability of dorsal horn neurons in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) may lead to neuropathic pain.2 However, other studies […]

  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Scoliosis

    Scoliosis is an early orthopedic complication of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).1 The estimated incidence of scoliosis in SMA types 1 and 2 ranges from 60-90%2 and is approximately 50% in SMA type 3.3 The etiology of scoliosis in SMA is weakness throughout the muscles in the thoracic compartment leading to a […]

  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Contractures

    Patients with progressive neuromuscular diseases like Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) have extremity weakness that can predispose to contractures, defined as “a lack of full passive range of motion due to joint, muscle, or soft tissue limitations.”1 The etiology of contractures in SMA is multifactorial and […]

  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy: Fractures

    Poor bone health is a consequence of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Bone mineral density is significantly reduced1,2 in up to 50% of patients with SMA.3 Immobility and muscle weakness in SMA are significant risk factors for low bone mineralization, but bone density is not directly correlated with severity of […]