Problems and solutions in congenital muscular dystrophies include the following:
Stiff or “frozen” joints (contractures) can be present at birth or develop as muscles weaken, but regular physical therapy designed to maintain range of motion at the joints can help combat this problem.
Weak trunk muscles can lead to curvature of the spine, or scoliosis, which, in turn, can limit mobility and interfere with breathing. Corrective surgery may eventually be required.
Leg braces or a wheelchair may eventually be needed to help with mobility. An occupational therapist can help those with CMD find the best ways to perform day-to-day functions, often through use of assistive devices.
Advanced or severe weakness of the respiratory muscles (the diaphragm and rib cage muscles) may interfere with breathing.
|Specially adapted computers can help children with vision problems.|
Symptoms of respiratory insufficiency include morning headaches, fatigue, sleeplessness, weakened or softened voice, and coughing.
There are many options available to help with this problem, ranging from noninvasive nighttime ventilation to a tracheostomy. See Breathe Easy: Respiratory Care in Neuromuscular Disorders for more on treating respiratory problems in neuromuscular disease.
Some children with CMD may have significant learning disabilities or mental retardation. Special education programs, begun as early as possible, can help a child maximize learning potential.
Specialists can address these problems with a variety of therapies.