What is Muscular Dystrophy?
The term muscular dystrophy refers to a group of more than 30 genetically determined disorders that are characterised by a progressive degeneration of the skeletal muscle which controls movement.
These disorders differ and can be subdivided in terms of the distribution and severity of muscle weakness, age of onset, rate of progression and pattern of inheritance.
Duchenne/Becker MD is the most common MD to present in childhood and its incidence is approximately 1 in 3,500 male births.
The benefits of The Bambach for Muscular Dystrophy
- The hip joint is its position of maximal joint surface contact (closed pack position).
- Focus on pelvic control maintains an upright stable pelvis in its neutral position. In this position the spine, shoulder girdle, trunk, head and neck can function in their most stable position.
- Limbs are in a mid-range position which can minimise abnormal tone.
- A clear midline assists balance and symmetry.
- The individual sitting upright is in an active dynamic posture rather than a passive collapsed position.
- The Individual has greater control of sensory inputs which can trigger unwanted motor responses.
- Partial weight bearing can be encouraged through to standing from a half-sitting position.
- Dynamic sitting facilitates muscle activity which ensures the stimulation of normal and symmetrical growth of bone and soft tissue.
- Facilitation of independence in sitting and other motor activities.
- Trunk and head control are easier in the natural position so that functional activities, such as swallowing and speech are improved.
- Thoracic, abdominal and pelvic spaces are maximized resulting in improved lung and internal organ function and circulation.
- With the upper body stable and free to move in this upright posture, eye contact, communication and social interaction are a great deal easier.
- Self care activities, such as meals, washing and dressing, writing, computer work, hobbies and playing games, are also more easily performed.
Bambach understands the problems associated with Muscular Dystrophy
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased co-ordination and gait (walking) difficulties
- Contractures of the muscles surrounding the joints and loss of mobility
- Development of spinal deformities such as scoliosis
- Weakness of respiratory muscles can lead to restrictive lung disease
The Bambach design, Muscular Dystrophy and Riding for the Disabled
The Bambach saddle seat was designed by an Australian Occupational Therapist as a result of her observation following years spent working with 'Riding for the Disabled'.
She found that disabled individuals suffering from degenerative conditions such as MD often had great difficulty in maintaining a healthy posture and assumed a 'collapsed' or 'slouched' posture when seated in a conventional wheelchair and required considerable support (or strapping) to remain sitting.
These same individuals when sat on horseback were however capable of sitting independently and unsupported and showed remarkably improved functional abilities as a result of being put on a horse on a saddle.