Physical activity and the use of standard and complementary therapies in Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies

Katy L. de Valle, Zoe E. Davidson, Rachel A Kennedy, Monique M Ryan, Kate M Carroll

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5 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: To record the use and perceived benefits of mainstream allied health services, complementary therapies, nutritional supplements and structured physical activity in a paediatric population of males with Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy. METHOD: A questionnaire was distributed to 125 parents of males with a dystrophinopathy within a tertiary neuromuscular clinic population in Melbourne, Australia. RESULTS: Response rate to the survey was 41%. Most families (73%) reported use of allied health services: physiotherapy (65%), occupational therapy (47%), and psychology (25%). The most commonly used complementary therapy was massage (31%). Sixty-five percent of families reported using nutritional supplements. Fifty-one and 38% of families reported participation in swimming and other organised sports, respectively. Physical and psychological benefits of sporting activities were identified by families. Participation in physical activity was lowest in those transitioning to full-time wheelchair use. CONCLUSIONS: Access to allied health services by boys with dystrophinopathies is variable and inconsistent with published international standards of care. There is frequent use of complementary therapies, despite a lack of proven efficacy. Studies of the effects of such therapies would support provision of evidence-based advice to families. Continued involvement in physical activity for those boys with declining function should be supported by clinicians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55 - 63
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine: an interdisciplinary approach
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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