Whether it’s human nature or the lack of awareness, we move on with life a lot of the time without thinking of those who are struggling. Those who have to face obstacles that most people don’t. Millions of people suffer through disorders that make it difficult for them to go about their day-to-day life. One example is Guillain barre syndrome.
Although it’s a rare disorder, many people still suffer and struggle because of it. And although most people struggling with Guillain barre syndrome recover fully in about six months, the recovery of some patients is prolonged and can be life-threatening as well. Those six months and more and no way to go by.
But certain things can make it easier for them, so they can be a bit more independent and at peace. This equipment is not something many people think of using, but they are of great help. But before we talk about adaptive equipment that people with Guillain barre syndrome can use, let’s talk about what this disorder is.
What Is Guillain Barre Syndrome?
Guillain Barre Syndrome, or GBS for short, is an acute-onset immune disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system. More often than not, this disorder is seen in people who have been sick recently due to infections. Regardless, the leading cause of GBS is still not known.
The symptoms of GBS vary, but the most common ones are symmetrical paraesthesia, which basically refers to the constant burning and numbing sensation a person feels, disturbance in the sensory processing, weakness in the muscles of the limbs, cranial nerve weakness, and hyporeflexia (which refers to descended or absent muscle response). This is a severe disorder as its progression is very rapid.
Many people who have GBS reach their lowest point of the condition in only two to four weeks from onset. Some patients face complete muscle paralysis, which then leads to them being out on ventilators to help them breathe.
This disorder is painful and something not everyone can recover from, but there are ways to make it better, as we said before. Along with therapy and other treatments, certain equipment surely makes the process a lot easier. So now that we have gone through what GBS is, let’s move on to this helpful equipment.
Adaptive Equipment For Guillain Barre Syndrome
1. Padded Folding Shower Seat
|Material||Vinyl, 304 stainless steel|
|Item Weight||15 Pounds|
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||32 x 16 x 5 inches|
The folding shower seat does exactly what the name suggests, helping people with Guillain barre syndrome take showers. Activities like bathing and showering require muscle strength, due to which many people with Gillian barre syndrome have it. And considering how this is an important activity, they might need help with it.
Folding shower seats allows people to take showers while sitting down. It is wall-mounted, meaning if it is installed properly, it can withstand a lot of pressure. This removes the worry of the person using it falling. It is also padded, which ensures comfort. However, for a person to use it, they must have postural strength.
Meaning they must be able to sit straight up for at least 30 mins or so to reduce the risk of any accidents while showering. Shower seats allow people with Guillain barre syndrome to be more independent. And they aren’t a hassle; they can move up and down easily and can be folded when not in use.
2. Wrist Rests
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||18 x 3.9 x 0.9 inches|
|Item Weight||0.7 Pounds|
Nowadays, working on computers and laptops is almost inevitable. Whether it’s for your job or for you to enjoy some personal time, using keyboards and a mouse can be tiresome, especially for people with GBS. They can start to tingle after some time as well. To help with that, wrist rests are great tools.
What they do is that they let you keep your wrist in a neutral position and also reduce the pressure on your forearm. Consequently, those muscles are not strained. This allows people with GBS to use these devices for a more extended period of time without being in any sort of pain or extreme discomfort.
3. Dumbbells And Wrist Sets
|Size||5lb Set – NEW Berry Color|
|Style||5lb Wrist/Ankle Weight Set|
Light strength training has proven to be beneficial for people with Guillain barre syndrome. These lightweight sets are a great start. Remember, the most crucial thing with GBS is to not over-exhaust your muscles. Yes, people feel soreness and tired when they exercise with GBS, but if it lasts more than 24 hours, you have gone too far. Not exhausting your muscles is crucial for recovery from GBS.
Contact your doctors and therapist to see if your muscles are ready for some light exercise. Keep the weights low and the repetition low as well. You just need to do enough so that your muscle and muscle fibers are in constant motion and are working. You can build your way up over time as your muscles get used to the exercise.
4. Silicone Straws
|Size||Set of 10|
|Unit Count||10 Count|
Straws aren’t something people would expect to make it into this list, but they are a lot more useful than you think. Many people with Guillain barre syndrome face numbness in their facial muscles. This makes chewing and drinking really hard. In this case, straws are a much easier alternative. Silicon straws are our choice because not only do they serve the same purpose, but they are also environmentally friendly.
Not only that, but with silicone straws, you can also adjust the angle at which you are taking in the drink due to its flexibility. This ensures that the person is comfortable. Moreover, you can also bite the straw If you feel like it would make drinking easier for you. It is also a plus that they are very easy to clean.
5. Arm Peddlers
Just like lightweights, arm paddles are also great to exercise your arms. The mechanism works the same as the pedals of a bicycle, except that you use your arms instead of your legs. You just place the machine on your table and go at it. It has the same benefit as bicycles have on your lower body.
And not only can you use this machine to strengthen your muscles and help with their weakness, but you can also use it to make your muscles used to any sort of movement. It is nothing serious or harsh for your muscle fibres to handle, so it’s a safe choice. But you still have to be careful not to overexert them.
6. Stationary Exercise Bikes
|Item Dimensions LxWxH||58 x 20 x 38 inches|
|Maximum Height||37.5 Inches|
|Minimum Height||40 Centimeters|
|Item Weight||61 Pounds|
These stationary exercise bikes work the same as ordinary bicycles (except you can’t use them to travel anywhere). Just like arm pedals, these stationary bikes are great to work on your leg muscles and make them stronger.
Not only do they help with the numbness, but they also help you walk properly if you have any issue with it due to GBS. But we will remind you to use it in moderation (again) because you can risk prolonging your recovery process.
7. Arm Skates
|Item Weight||3.53 ounces|
|Package Dimensions||51 x 25 x 7 inches; 3.53 Ounces|
|Manufacturer||Patterson Medical Holdings Inc|
|Style||Complete Board System|
Now, if you are looking for equipment to improve strength, then maybe this one is not for you. But although arm skates don’t increase your strength, they do help introduce movement to your arms. This is especially great for you if you feel numbness or muscle weakness in your arms and struggle to use them.
This is a common occurrence with GBS. So not only do arm skates reintroduce movements, but they also increase the range of motion in your arms without actually having to use those said muscles. This way, you don’t strain your muscles, but your movement is not limited as well. A win-win situation.
8. Electrical Stimulation Machines
Electrical stimulation machines have proven to be great for muscle paralysis or severe muscle numbness. Electrical stimulation is used to stimulate the affected area and help introduce movement. Paired with strength training, it can be really successful (reminder again, it will work if used in moderation). However, you need to contact your doctors and therapists, so don’t jump right into it without looking into it.
Ask them to guide you if need be because there is a chance that electrical stimulation is not suited for you. Know your pros and cons, and only after you have done all your research, then choose what you should or shouldn’t do because electrical stimulation is used all that much as there are some other treatments that are proven to be more beneficial.
So here you are. From equipment that helps people with Guillain barre syndrome more independent to devices that can help strengthen their muscles and introduce movements. Please remember that it is not an easy journey, but it’s something that’s well worth it. Just because it seems hard does not mean it’s impossible.
Reach out for help when needed. If you have Guillain barre syndrome, or if you know someone who has it, be there for them. We wish everyone who has GBS a speedy recovery.