Rigid spine muscular dystrophy (RSMD) is a type of congenital muscular dystrophy characterized by weakness of the muscles of the torso and neck, which can affect the spine and cause breathing difficulties. Like all congenital dystrophies, the muscle weakness that marks RSMD is either present at birth or develops within the first few months of life.

There is currently no cure for RSMD, and management options focus on the relief of symptoms and improving quality of life.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy can help improve muscle strength and reduce muscle loss. They may also help to preserve flexibility and range of motion.

Adaptive devices

Muscle weakness in the back often leads to scoliosis (abnormal sideways curvature of the spine). Specific braces can help support the spine.

Surgery

RSMD patients experience a limited flexion of the spine (bending forward) and scoliosis. Surgical correction can be used to straighten the spine.

Respiratory care

Because RSMD also affects respiratory muscles, patients may need help with breathing, especially at night. Non-invasive ventilation, such as a BiPAP device, facilitates breathing by providing higher pressure during inhalation.

 

Last updated: August 26, 2019

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Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.