What is it?
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine producing neurons in a specific area of the brain. Symptoms develop slowly over time and can vary from person to person.
Information and causes?
In Parkinson’s disease, certain nerve cells (neurons) in the brain gradually break down or die. Many of the symptoms are due to a loss of neurons that produce a chemical messenger in your brain called dopamine. When dopamine levels decrease, it causes abnormal brain activity, leading to impaired movement and other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Though the cause for Parkinson’s is unknown, treatments are available to help slow the progression of the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complications related to Parkinson’s is the 14th cause of death in the United States. It is important that those with Parkinson’s are educated in the treatments available to them for the best quality of life possible.
The signs and symptoms?
- Resting tremors
- Bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
- Limb rigidity
- Gait and balance difficulties
For someone with Parkinson’s, it is best to learn more about the disease itself and management to help gain control of their personal health. There are many treatments of Parkinson’s Disease and physical therapy is one of them. Although it’s not a cure, therapeutic exercise has been clinically shown to significantly slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms. A recent study showed that early and regular physical therapy helped improve physical function and decreased disability (DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1725133).
Physical therapy will initially focus on educating the patient about the disease. Research shows that people who are knowledgeable about their condition have better coping abilities. This education can include learning how the body perceives pain and how to take control of the pain. Pain management through various types of exercises such as aerobics, manual therapy, stretching, and deep breathing can help improve overall function, general health and sleep quality in patients with fibromyalgia. Your physical therapist will design a program that is right for you and your goals.
At your first visit you should expect a physical therapist that is there to get to know you, your current complaints, and your goals. Using this information and the information they gather during their evaluation they will set up an individualized treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and get back to your life faster. Treatments could include modalities for pain control, manual therapy to help relieve muscle tension and promote healing, exercises to restore strength and motion, and muscular retraining to improve neurodegenerative symptoms, core activation and stabilization.