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5 Ways Physiotherapy Can Help Manage Parkinson’s Disease

September 09 | 2023
Posted by Sharon Tierney

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What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition resulting in difficulty starting and maintaining movements in the body. Importantly, there is a loss of some neurons (brain cells) that contribute to coordinating muscles and creating smooth movements. As a result, individuals with this condition experience a range of symptoms that impair their strength, mobility,  flexibility, and posture.

4 hallmark features

  1. Tremors: Firstly, tremors are usually the initial symptom. The tremor is mostly when the body is resting, such as sitting, but may worsen over time to affect the individual while they’re performing other tasks like writing, eating, or shaving.
  2. Rigidity: Secondly, rigidity refers to stiffness of the muscles and joints. In Parkinson’s, it can affect the arms, legs, trunk, and even the face.
  3. Bradykinesia: Next, bradykinesia means slowness of movement which may include stopping or hesitating during movements.
  4. Postural Instability: Finally, difficulty balancing and correcting postural faults which results in an increased risk of falls.

Additionally, if you are interested in a more detailed overview of Parkinson’s Disease and its symptoms, the Parkinson’s Foundation is a great resource.

The role of physiotherapy in Parkinson’s Disease

Promoting safety with Parkinson's Disease by using a walker

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease currently but there are ways to manage the condition both from a medical and physical therapy point of view.  Importantly, this will help an individual improve their quality of life and mobility. Physical therapy for this condition will focus on a variety of areas including:

  1. Enhancing strength and flexibility through a home exercise program containing stretching exercises and resistance training.
  2. Additionally, mobility  training will focus on walking and balance exercises and strategies to overcome freezing episodes.
  3. Not to mention, postural correction and postural awareness. Parkinson’s Disease commonly results in a very stopped and rounded posture which can create pain and discomfort.
  4. Next, fall prevention is a crucial part of management. Namely, balance training, functional training, education on techniques and habits to minimize falls, and a home safety evaluation may all be included in this part of the treatment.
  5. Finally, the condition will be managed by a team of health care professionals that will collaborate closely.  Using each profession’s specialty, they will create a comprehensive and holistic plan to promote the optimal quality of life.

In conclusion, physiotherapy is a crucial component of the management of Parkinson’s disease. The goals are to help individuals maintain their independence and minimize the loss of function and negative impacts on the life. If you or someone you know has Parkinson’s disease and is looking to take control of their life back, PhysioNow is ready to help you. Book with us today for your first assessment and treatment with a Registered Physiotherapist.

 

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