Myasthenia gravis

What is myasthenia gravis?
Myasthenia gravis is a neurological disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system. It primarily affects the muscles required to control the eyelids, facial expressions, neck, arms and chest.

Physical symptoms
People with myasthenia gravis may have difficulty controlling their eye and face muscles, causing droopy eyelids and an inability to create facial expressions. They may have weakness or paralysis in their upper body, including the neck, shoulders and arms. Rarely, people with MG may have breathing difficulties.

Our superheroes
We treat superheroes with MG alongside all other professionals involved in their care. Medication is a huge part of the recovery process, so we work closely with paediatricians, and inpatient hospital teams when required. One of superheroes with MG made a full recovery, and was so pleased to be with his friends back at school. BBP worked with his school team and PE teacher to aid a gradual recovery, and his best friends came to do adapted PE with him and Team BBP to support him!

How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy aims to maximise the function of superheroes with MG. Depending on how the child is affected, this could be through breathing exercises, activation of paralysed muscles, strengthening weaker muscles and preventing further deterioration.

Activation of muscles
BBP are skilled at handling, and work on positioning the joints to stimulate nerve connections and contractions of the muscle. We do this through function, play, tactile facilitation and maximising the environment and surroundings. We understand this can be a frustrating time for children with MG, and we make sure to give regular breaks, lots of praise and of course make everything fun!

Breathing exercises
When the breathing muscles are affected, superheroes with MG can compensate by breathing differently. This leads to a faster breathing rate, as it is less efficient, with less air getting into the lungs. We are knowledgeable about positioning to activate the correct muscles, used for taking larger and more efficient breaths. We provide programmes to gradually build up more efficient breathing, in small, bite-sized chunks. Over time, this has shown to result in good long-term breathing habits that come automatically to the child.

After the muscles have been activated, we move on to strengthening them, sometimes our clients have competitions with Team BBP, and they always win! We make sure we are strengthening the right muscles for the task in hand. We will focus on low contraction and high repetitions for breathing muscles, to make sure they have the endurance to keep going all the time. We work on rehabilitating muscle ‘bulk’ and power in large global mover muscles in the arms and shoulders, and a good mix of strength and endurance for posture muscles.

Function and participation
All of our BBP heroes are set bespoke short-, medium- and long-term goals. These are reviewed regularly and are always linked to function and play! Every skill learned during physio will be transferable to an exciting skill that means a lot to your superhero!

Get n touch with our team to see if they will be a good match for your superhero with MG!