Physiotherapy and medication are the primary treatments of choice in managing Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and its associated movement issues.
Advances in Physiotherapy research have produced a wealth of evidence supporting the role of physiotherapy and specific exercise prescription in the management of this progressive neurological disorder.
Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative movement disorder characterised by tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. Essentially the distinctive motor features are:
- Loss of automaticity of movement – movements that are usually performed automatically and without thought become more challenging. Typically these include walking, multitasking, active pastimes and arm movements.
- Reduced amplitude of movement – reduced ability to move the limb or torso to its fullest extent.
- Slowness of movement – movements are performed at a slower pace.
Neurological Physiotherapy addresses these motor features and improves performance of functional movements.
Other movement-related symptoms which can respond positively to physiotherapy interventions include trunk and limb stiffness, stooped posture, balance impairment, freezing, muscle cramps, muscle and joint pains.
Like many other lifetime medical disorders ( eg diabetes, heart complaints and respiratory conditions) parkinsons disease requires lifelong management beginning at initial diagnosis through the course of your life with the help of informed professionals.
A physiotherapy consult on initial diagnosis, gives you the opportunity to discuss your concerns and receive the support and guidance needed to help you manage your condition as necessary.
It is likely that motor symptoms are already apparent when diagnosed. It is important to address these symptoms immediately before they interfere with function and active pastimes.
Early Physiotherapy intervention targeting individual symptoms is also crucial to counteract faulty movement patterns and to limit secondary effects of parkinsons.
Research indicates that even in the early stage of diagnosis, multi-tasking ( i.e. doing more than one thing at a time), can be challenging but importantly improves with appropriate training.
The essential components of an effective rehabilitation program include: specific brain stimulation techniques, sensory cueing strategies, manual therapy and structured exercise
Have the support of an informed Neurological physiotherapist specialising in Parkinson’s to help address your movement related issues and physical challenges.
A baseline evaluation is a good place to start.If you would like to talk with a member of our team please call (01) 8829174 or leave your details below and we will call you back.
Key facts about Exercise and PD
The evidence for embracing an active lifestyle is overwhelming. The type, intensity and progressions will depend on many factors: your physical status, parkinson specific symptoms, mood, cognition and medical history. The key is to increase and preserve fitness levels and target Parkinson’s specific issues.
Adopting a more active, exercise focused lifestyle at diagnosis is essential.
We know that structured exercise rehabilitation can suppress parkinsons symptoms and improve motor performance.
There is emerging evidence that exercising 2.5 hours, or 150 minutes, per week can slow the progression of Parkinson’s symptoms. The type and intensity are crucial factors.
Animal studies indicate that intensive exercise may have neuroprotective properties. Whilst there is no evidence of this as yet in human trials, it is extremely promising but more research is required.
You have the option of a one to one assessment and treatment or attending one of our PD specific exercise classes, run by chartered neurophysiotherapists trained in the latest evidence based physiotherapy treatments.
The classes are designed to be very active and dynamic, and every effort is made to address individual impairments within the group setting by customising the exercise selection.
Exercises are modified regularly both for variety and to ensure a proper training stimulus is achieved. We now know that doing the same exercise for more than 6 – 8 weeks limits the potential for further improvement.
Many of the class participants say they benefit positively not only from the structured exercise but also from peer support.
Call today (01) 8829174 to arrange an appointment with our team or leave your details below and we will call you back.
Martin towey is qualified instructor in PD Warrier, mindfulness instructor and co-ordinator of the PD classes in the clinic. He also runs mindfulness parkinsons classes.
Grainne Mckeown is qualified in LSVT “BIG” program. Chairperson of the Physiotherapy and PD special interest group, has attended the international PD Physiotherapy school and is involved in teaching Physiotherapists about Parkinsons disease. She runs the movement disorder clinic in the Dublin Neurological Institute, Mater hospital and the PD class in the Mater hospital.