Therapies and Care
There isn’t a cure for ALS yet, but there are ways to help relieve and manage the symptoms. Here are therapies that might help you.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Physical therapy (PT) is the use of exercises and treatments to improve physical movement and overall mobility. Occupational therapy (OT) is similar but focused on developing or maintaining the physical skills needed to perform everyday tasks.
For example, a physical therapist might prescribe stretching exercises to limit discomfort and preserve range of motion or use pool therapy to help you walk and improve joint function. An occupational therapist may help you find new ways to brush your teeth or recommend equipment to make your daily-living activities easier.
For people living with ALS with bulbar symptoms, a speech-language pathologist can help with both speaking and swallowing difficulties. They might find devices to help you communicate as your speech becomes harder for others to understand.
A respiratory therapist can teach you new techniques for breathing and coughing to help you keep your airway and lungs clear and healthy. If you need a mechanical ventilator, they can help you evaluate the options and choose the best one for your needs.
It’s normal to feel depressed and/or anxious after being diagnosed with ALS. If you’re having difficulty coping with the mental and emotional side of ALS, a counselor or psychiatrist can help.
Several medications can help treat the various symptoms of ALS, and new drugs are being developed all the time. Talk with your doctor or therapist to find out what’s currently available and whether they might be right for you.