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© 2018 by Madison Physical Therapy

Guillain-Barre Syndrome: What is it?

October 12, 2017



Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare autoimmune condition where your body’s immune system attacks your central nervous system by targeting healthy cells. The first signs of this syndrome are tingling and weakness in one’s extremities. Other symptoms of Guillain-Barre are the following:

  • Numbness/tingling in fingers and/or toes

  • Difficulty walking

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Muscle weakness (starting in legs)

  • Weakened bladder control

  • Difficulty moving facial muscles

  • Increased heart rate

  • Paralysis

  • Intense pain in lower back


The exact cause for Guillain-Barre Syndrome is unknown, however, the onset of the syndrome usually occurs after an infectious illness. Such illnesses include stomach flu and respiratory infection.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for Guillain-Barre Syndrome. However, treatment from a physical therapist can help minimize your symptoms. At Madison Physical Therapy in Bay Ridge, our physical therapists will help improve your quality of life and make it easier to live with this syndrome.


In Bay Ridge, our physical therapists will manually move your legs and arms to maintain their flexibility. As our patients regain limb control, their treatment will focus more on strengthening the affected limbs and muscles. The goal of treatment at Madison Physical Therapy is to keep your body functioning as your central nervous system recovers.


Other common treatments for Guillain-Barre Syndrome:

  • Spinal Tap

  • Electromyography (nerve function test)

  • Use of steroid hormones

  • Nerve conduction studies


Factors that can contribute to worsening symptoms:

  • Old age

  • Delay of treatment

  • Prolonged use of respirator

  • Severe, prolonged or worsening illness


Receiving treatment at Madison Physical Therapy in Bay Ridge could become an essential part of your recovery. The recovery process is slow as it can last anywhere from a few months to a few years, however, we have had many patients benefit from the effects of our physical therapy. Visit our website to learn more about Madison PT, and give us a call to book your appointment.


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