4 Areas of SMA Management

Wendy Henderson avatar

by Wendy Henderson |

Share this article:

Share article via email

Approximately one in 10,000 newborns are born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a life threatening condition that results in muscle wasting, severely impaired mobility, and sometimes a shortened life span in severe cases. Currently, SMA is incurable but there are ways to manage the condition and bring comfort to patients.

Learn how the faulty SMN2 gene is responsible for spinal muscular atrophy.

1. Help with mobility

exercise and SMA

Physiotherapy and exercise play an important role in the management of SMA.  The controlled movements help maintain circulation, improve flexibility and prevent stiffness of the joints. Walking frames or electric wheelchairs may be required depending on how severe the patient’s SMA is.

Exoskeleton helps children with spinal muscular atrophy walk. Read more here. 

2. Help with breathing


Some SMA patients may find it difficult to breathe on their own due to weakened respiratory muscles. Breathing exercises will help to strengthen these muscles. More severe patients may need help from an oxygen machine. Regular flu and pneumonia vaccinations are usually recommended.

Meet Brett, a 6-year-old boy with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy.

3. Surgery


Children with SMA are at a high risk of getting curvature of the spine due to weak back muscles. Surgery may be required to correct spine curvature.  Braces could be use for less severe cases.

Discover how Eric maintains an ordinary life in spite of his spinal muscular atrophy.

4. Healthcare Team

Cure SMA in Patient Voice project

SMA patients will see a wide range of healthcare professionals including nutritionists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, neurological doctors, orthopedic surgeons and speech therapists who will all apply their expertise to provide the best possible care.

Understand more about the four types of SMA with our guide here. 

SMA News Today 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 another 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.