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What are the Different Types of Ataxia Treatment?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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The most common types of ataxia treatment are physical therapy, medication, and supplements. There are different types of ataxia which affect different areas of the sensory-motor system. The treatments will usually be aimed at correcting the underlying cause of symptoms and to rebuild lost muscle tone or function.

Ataxia usually involves dysfunction in movement and muscle control. Hunched posture, instability while standing or walking, and lack of control of movements are common manifestations of the condition. There are a wide range of causes, so ataxia treatment options are varied. They usually include supplementing a missing vitamin or mineral, treating medical conditions with medication, altering current medications, or the use of physical therapy to build muscle strength.

Sometimes ataxia is caused by an underlying neurological disorder or disease and may be remedied with the use of prescription medications. The exact drug used will depend on the condition being treated. Physical therapy is a common ataxia treatment in these cases because as the drug begins to work, patients may require training in rebuilding lost muscle tone or developing coordination once again.

A deficiency in vitamin B-12 has also been shown to cause problems with balance and coordination, especially if it is severe. Ataxia treatment in this case usually involves giving high doses of the vitamin, typically through injection or intravenous methods. Many times patients will begin to improve quickly, although the length of time depends on how severe the deficiency is and whether or not there are any additional underlying conditions.

Certain medications or substances may also cause ataxia symptoms. These can include drugs used to treat epilepsy, street drugs, marijuana, and alcohol. In many cases, no ataxia treatment is needed for these instances since symptoms often subside once the offending substance has passed through the body. If prescription medications are the culprit, a new drug may be given that does not create troubling symptoms. Sometimes ataxia will go away on its own once the body adjusts to the medication.

Sometimes injury or another condition involving the spine or nervous system may cause symptoms of ataxia. These cases may or may not be treatable, as sometimes damage is irreversible. If someone is born with a condition which may cause these symptoms, early ataxia treatment in the form of surgery or physical therapy may be beneficial at improving coordination, balance, and motor abilities. This works best if treatments are started at an early age.

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