There is no known cure for muscular dystrophy. Inactivity (such as bed-rest and even sitting for long periods) can worsen the disease. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthotic intervention, speech therapy and orthopedic instruments (e.g., wheelchairs, standing frames) may be helpful.
There is no specific treatment for any of the forms of muscular dystrophy. Physical therapy to prevent contractures and maintain muscle tone, orthoses (orthopedic appliances used for support) and corrective orthopedic surgery may be needed to improve the quality of life in some cases. The cardiac problems that occur with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy and myotonic muscular dystrophy may require a pacemaker. The myotonia (delayed relaxation of a muscle after a strong contraction) occurring in myotonic muscular dystrophy may be treated with medications such as quinine, phenytoin, or mexiletine but no actual long term treatment has been found.
Occupational therapy assists the individual with MD in engaging in his/her activities of daily living (self-feeding, self-care activities, etc) and leisure activities at the most independent level possible. This may be achieved with use of adaptive equipment or the utilization of energy conservation techniques. Occupational therapy may implement changes to a person's environment, both at home or work, to increase the individual's function and accessibility. Occupational therapists also address psychosocial changes and cognitive decline which may accompany MD as well as provide support and education about the disease to the family and individual.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011