What is the role of physical therapy in the treatment of spinal muscle atrophy (SMA) treated?

Updated: Aug 11, 2020
  • Author: Ashish S Ranade, MBBS, MS, MRCS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey A Goldstein, MD  more...
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Physical therapy (including aquatherapy and hippotherapy) and occupational therapy are required for optimizing positioning, seating, and mobility. Patients with type I SMA, because of their short life span, require little, if any, involvement on the part of an orthopedist. Splinting is used for fractures.

For patients with type II or type III SMA, physical and occupational therapy may be employed for maintaining range of motion (ROM) of joints, preventing contractures, and optimizing positioning, seating, and activities of daily living (ADLs). These patients also require orthotics, standing and walking aids, and mobility devices  (see Surgical Care below). [54, 55, 56]  Nutritional support and respiratory care and support are important as well. Because children with SMA may have decreased bone density, optimizing bone health (eg, with supplemental calcium and vitamin D) is necessary to prevent insufficiency fractures. Bisphosphonates may be considered for cases of decreased bone density.

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