Most people eventually make a full recovery from Guillain-Barré syndrome, but this can take a long time and some people have long-term problems.

The time it takes to recover can vary from a few weeks to a few months, or sometimes several years.

The vast majority of people recover within a year.

A few people may have symptoms again years later but this is rare.

Possible long-term problems

These can include:

  • being unable to walk without assistance – some people need to use a wheelchair
  • weakness in your arms, legs or face
  • numbness, pain or a tingling or burning sensation
  • balance and co-ordination problems
  • extreme tiredness

Support and rehabilitation

Specialised services are available to help you recover and adapt to any long-term problems.

This may involve support from:

  • physiotherapist – who can help with movement problems
  • an occupational therapist – who can identify problem areas in the person's everyday life and work out practical solutions
  • a speech and language therapist – who can help with communication and swallowing problems
  • counsellor – who you can discuss your problems with and who can help you find ways to cope emotionally

Your health and care needs will be assessed and an individual care plan drawn up to meet those needs. This should involve a discussion with you and anyone likely to be involved in your care.

See the care and support section for information and advice about caring for someone, including sections that may be useful if you're new to caring.

Support groups

If you have Guillain-Barré syndrome, or you're caring for someone who has, you may find it useful to get in touch with a support group.

The main UK-based support group is GAIN (Guillain-Barré & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies). You can visit their website for information or contact their helpline on 0800 374803.

You can also ask the healthcare professionals caring for you about support groups in your area.

Page last reviewed: 10/01/2017

Next review due: 10/01/2020