Parkinson’s Disease

“Exercise benefits both the physical and psychological well-being of people with Parkinson’s disease. Special training can help to prevent falling, improve daily activity and prevent complications”

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

A person with Parkinson’s Disease may be experiencing several symptoms at the same time. The main symptoms include slowing movement, muscle stiffness, walking difficulty, and falling. The symptoms slowly progress, and can cause complication of musculoskeletal problems such as spondylosis, pain, and injury.

Importance of Physical & Occupational Therapy in Treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Physical therapy benefits both the physical and psychological well-being of people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Because of this, physical therapy helps to keep muscles strong and to improve flexibility and mobility, helping overcome problems with gait and balance. Physical therapy and exercise possibly can help keep PD from progressing and causing complications. Occupational therapy can help patients who have difficulties in domestic activities, swallowing and speech.

Physical and Occupational Therapy Interventions

Exercise

Increasingly proven to be important in maintaining health and wellbeing, and not just in patients with PD, exercise can address secondary prevention (focusing on strength, endurance, flexibility, functional practice and balance); exercise for neuroprotection focuses on endurance; exercise using motor learning principles uses approaches such as mental imagery and dual task training. Group exercise has the added value of providing social communication for patients who  can see the benefits of maintaining exercise activity; it can help prevent depression.

Executing Dual Tasks

Dual task training such as talking while walking is commonly difficult in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Training this with Motor-Cognitive Dual-Task Training improves dual-task ability and might improve gait, balance and cognition.

Movement Strategy Training

Cueing Strategies (visual/auditory cues) can help overcome some of the movement problems found in the Parkinson’s gait. We can  immediately see the effects of external cueing and attention on improving step length, freezing and turning during walking tasks, and in activities of daily living. Music-based movement, Metronome Therapy, and visual strips on the ground can effectively be used as tools to train patients.

Starting Rehabilitation and Duration

Rehabilitation and exercise should start early after diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The benefits can be seen in a few weeks. It is highly recommended to continue rehabilitation combined with medical therapy for the entire period of the disease.