Patients with autism experience pain and aches just like all of us. Unfortunately, they find it difficult to express these discomfort. To put it simply, their inner feelings are unlimited, but their minds only let them express extremes or nothing. This makes it difficult for them to effectively express their feelings effectively.
Patients along the autism spectrum demonstrate poor endurance and tone of their core and postural muscles. This is the primary reason for their disadvantaged ability to engage in sports and other prolonged physical activities such as walking, hiking, standing and etc. Because of their lack of endurance to hold up or maintain a good posture, they tend to develop a wide range of musculoskeletal problems. Unfortunately, many of them find it difficult to pinpoint their pains or even describe their discomfort as they have been dealing with these disturbances since young. Moreover, many autistic patients are not able to express themselves well and as such, often do not get access to early intervention.
Common issues that autistic patients present include excessive sensory stimulation across their bodies, fatigue and pain through their neck and back, excessive tightness through their front abdominal muscles as well as discomfort over their feet. To put it simply, due to their inability to hold an upright posture, they often slouch excessively at the pelvis and at their neck and back which then affects the loading through their weight bearing feet. This poor posture places their posterior chain of muscles in a lengthened position and their anterior chain of muscles in a shortened position, creating an imbalance that worsens overtime.
The goal of treatment interventions for these patients present similarly to patients with no neurological issues, and that is to get their bodies to be less imbalanced, get rid of their symptoms, improve their mobility and their pain-free quality of life. However, the intervention method would differ. Treatment interventions would combine a mixture of exercises to calm their body and the anxiety through their body, in addition to specific strengthening and soft tissue manual work.
Working with autism requires a more patient way to communicate, as it requires us to reflect upon a perspective of the world that is different from what we are accustomed too. We believe that Autism is simply a different way in which the world is viewed. An effective treatment plan would begin from a more patient communication together with a customised intervention program.