Muscular disorders (MD) are rare neurological diseases that are often hereditary. People with MD typically experience muscle weakness which complicates their everyday activities. This weakness can be progressive.
More than 800 different types of MD have been diagnosed in the world. Consequently, people with MD have different: some need to use a wheelchair, some have lighter problems with balance or walking, some have occasional weakness in facial or hand muscles. Statistically there are up to 1500 people with MD in Estonia. In case of a progressive disease, a person needs orthopedic instruments, personal helpers, physical therapy, and living adjustments to deal with his or her job, everyday life and hobbies.
Most causes for neuromuscular diseases have already been discovered, however, usually there is no cure found yet. Some forms of MD allow a person to live a normal, healthy life with the help of medications. In many cases, symptoms can only be alleviated. Scientifical achievements in gene technology let us hope that in coming decades, some ill genes can be replaced. Until that time, the most important treatment is physical therapy, especially stretching exercises that avoid joint stiffening and spine distortion. It is also important that a person can get professional breathing aid in a crisis situation or when the disease progresses. Regarding physical theraphy for people with muscular disorders, Estonia still has a long way to go.