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Guillain – Barre Syndrome (GBS)

GBS is an acquired immune-mediated inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nervous system.

As a result, neurological signals are slowed, altered or blocked altogether, resulting in paraesthesia (e.g. numbness, tingling, “crawling skin”), loss of sensation, progressive muscle weakness, often general fatigue, sometimes pain and other possible secondary complications.

Disability caused by GBS generally progresses over the course of a few days to four weeks. At the peak of the condition’s progress, many patients experience flaccid paralysis of nearly all skeletal muscles, with talking, swallowing and breathing frequently being affected.

Many patients will walk without help after three months and experience only minor residual symptoms by the end of the first year following the start of the disease. Nevertheless, recovery can be extremely slow (from six months to two years or longer) and five to twenty percent of patients are left with significant residual symptoms that lead to long-term disability and prevent a successful return to their prior lifestyle or occupation.

The goal of rehabilitation is to get patients moving at the earliest opportunity.

Rehabilitation Services
Patients with GBS benefit greatly from the comprehensive rehabilitation services of RHP

  • Physiotherapy and occupational therapy to assist the patient to achieve optimal muscle use and help patients with residual impairments to resume independent activity as close to their previous lifestyle as possible.
  • advanced technologies and activity-based interventions, including hydrotherapy, locomotor training and neurostimulators to help patients gradually rebuild neuromuscular control
  • training with adaptive devices, such as a wheelchair or braces; if needed
  • speech therapy for patients who have trouble swallowing or talking
  • individualised home programme training for ongoing rehabilitation facilitated by the patient, family and caregivers

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are integral parts of the recovery and management of GBS. Their involvement can help a patient minimize pain, increase strength and endurance and prevent secondary complications and overuse damage to muscles and joints while improving balance, mobility and restoring functional activity at home, work and play.

How can we help?