“Get active doing something you love. Just like Parkinson’s, the right physical activity is different for everyone. But being active is always most effective when you push yourself. Whatever you do to get active, it’s important to do it regularly. And if you enjoy the physical activity you’re doing, you’re more likely to keep doing it. Find something you love. Find something that makes you feel good”
Parkinson’s UK

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement and coordination. Physiotherapists play a crucial role in the management and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. They can provide specialised interventions and guidance to address the motor symptoms and functional challenges associated with the condition.

Parkinson’s disease is typically diagnosed based on a person’s medical history, physical examination, and the presence of characteristic symptoms. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but treatment focuses on managing symptoms, improving quality of life, and slowing down the progression of the disease.

Treatment options for Parkinson’s disease may include medication, physiotherapy and occupational therapy to address movement and functional difficulties, speech therapy for speech and swallowing problems, and lifestyle modifications. In some cases, deep brain stimulation surgery may be recommended to help control symptoms.

Neurological Physiotherapy is a branch of physiotherapy that specialises in the treatment and management of people who have neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s. It is one of the many therapies which are an essential part of a Parkinson’s care plan and should be integrated at the earliest possible stage after diagnosis.

When looking for physiotherapist, it is important to find a Neurological Physiotherapist with experience of providing therapy to people with Parkinson’s Disease.

How can Neurological Physiotherapy help?

Here are some ways in which a Neuro Physiotherapist can help individuals with Parkinson’s:

Assessment:

A Neuro Physiotherapist will conduct a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the individual’s mobility, balance, strength, flexibility, and overall functional abilities. This assessment helps identify specific areas of difficulty and guides the development of an individualized treatment plan.

Gait and Balance Training:

Parkinson’s can affect walking and balance, leading to an increased risk of falls. Neuro Physiotherapists can provide gait training and balance exercises to help improve walking patterns, enhance stability, and reduce the risk of falls. They may also prescribe assistive devices like canes or walkers if necessary.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Rehabilitation:

For individuals who have undergone deep brain stimulation surgery, Neuro Physiotherapists can provide rehabilitation and help optimize the benefits of the procedure. They can work with the individual to regain movement control, improve coordination, and adjust to any changes resulting from the surgery.

Movement Strategies and Techniques:

Neuro Physiotherapists can teach individuals with Parkinson’s various movement strategies and techniques to enhance motor control and function. These may include techniques such as rhythmic cueing, external cues, and visual or auditory feedback to facilitate smoother movements and overcome freezing episodes.

Education and Self-Management:

Neuro Physiotherapists can educate individuals with Parkinson’s and their caregivers about the condition, its progression, and strategies to manage symptoms. They may provide guidance on energy conservation techniques, postural awareness, and modifications to daily activities to promote independence and optimise function.

Falls Prevention:

Neuro Physiotherapists can assess the home environment and provide recommendations to minimise fall risks. They can also guide individuals in improving their balance, strength, and coordination to reduce the likelihood of falls.

Physical Exercise Programs

Neuro Physiotherapists can design and implement exercise programs tailored to the individual’s needs and goals. These programs may include a combination of cardiovascular exercises, strength training, balance exercises, stretching, and coordination activities. Exercise has been shown to improve motor function, mobility, balance, and overall quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.

We know that when you have Parkinson’s the thought of exercise may be a daunting one. You may be struggling with movement and pain, but exercise can actually be an ideal, and safe, way to help and understanding the exercises to help your individual needs is key.

It is advisable to start off with some gentle exercise under the guidance of a Neurological Physiotherapist. Try to remember that any initial discomfort as you get used to the new movement is outweighed by the long term physical and wellbeing benefits that exercise can bring.

Without regular exercise, people with Parkinson’s may find themselves leaning forwards or sideways due to the weakening muscles. This, in turn, strains the muscles that are trying to keep the body upright and can compress soft tissue and joints over prolonged periods. Studies show that regular exercise can help maintain balance, mobility and the ability to perform daily tasks.

Benefits of Exercise

  • Building and maintaining muscle strength
  • Improved coordination, which can help reduce the risk and fear of falling
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased range of motion and flexibility
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved quality of sleep

Adding Variety to your Exercise

No matter what exercise you do, it should be fun! Your own personal preferences and situation will guide you but choose a range of physical and wellbeing exercises including aerobic, strength, balance and flexibility.

  • Aerobic (or cardio) – this includes activities designed to raise your heart rate over a period of time and is great for overall fitness and motor function. This could include walking, swimming, rowing or stationery cycling.
  • Strength Training – this helps to build muscle mass to make performing everyday tasks easier. Bicep curls, tricep dips, squats and leg presses are all great at helping to maintain muscle strength.
  • Balance exercises – this is important to help reduce or prevent the risk of falling by helping to improve stability through things such as Yoga, Pilates, Tha-Chi or Dance.

Remember, exercise opportunities can come from lots of different areas. Your hobbies are a perfect example. Gardening, drawing, playing an instrument and even knitting are all a great way to get your body moving in different ways.

Join Us for a Fun Parkinson’s Exercise Class

We are now running a dedicated Parkinson’s exercise class, designed to be fun, build strength and building progression towards better mobility whilst combating rigidity, slowness and poor posture.

The class will be run on a circuit basis using some of the gym equipment plus other exercises focussed on evidence based programmes such as PD warrior.

The exercise group size will be small around 6 people and each of the exercises can be adapted to suit individual need if required. Please get in touch to find out more details.

It’s important to note that physiotherapy interventions for Parkinson’s are tailored to each individual’s unique needs and may vary depending on the stage and progression of the disease. A multidisciplinary approach involving collaboration with other healthcare professionals, such as neurologists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists, is often beneficial in managing Parkinson’s holistically.

https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/

Helping you live your healthiest and happiest life. Revival Health & Wellbeing Centre offers a variety of treatments, clinics, counselling and holistic therapies from our specialist team of practitioners.

Please contact us on 01386 792 126 to discuss your consultation.