Did you know that Parkinson’s disease affects 1 out of every 500 Canadians? Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disease that is chronic and progressive. It causes many symptoms that make daily life harder. A few common symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include…
- Lack of balance
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty walking and talking
Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells that produce dopamine. The symptoms of Parkinson’s show up when the loss of nerve cells reaches 80 percent. There is currently no cure for this condition.
“The reason for the nerve damage (that causes Parkinson’s disease) is currently unknown, although two areas currently being researched as possible causes are genetics and environmental factors.” — UCB Canada
The Good News: Physiotherapy Helps Parkinson’s Patients
While it’s true that Parkinson’s disease can reduce one’s quality of life, it’s equally true that there are treatments available that can reduce a person’s symptoms of the disease. One treatment is physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy may not be the first treatment you’d think of for Parkinson’s patients, but it is highly effective. Here are three ways physiotherapy helps individuals with this disease:
1. Physiotherapy improves balance — Losing one’s balance is disconcerting. People who participate in a physiotherapy program often see a great improvement in balance. The effectiveness of physiotherapy on balance dysfunction and postural instability in persons with Parkinson’s disease stated,
“Physiotherapy interventions like balance training combined with muscle strengthening, the range of movement and walking training exercise is effective in improving balance in patients with Parkinson’s disease and more effective than balance exercises alone.”
It’s worth noting that physiotherapy helps restore balance to individuals with a variety of health conditions, not just those with Parkinson’s disease.
2. Physiotherapy teaches patients to care for themselves — Parkinson’s disease can rob a person of his or her ability to get in and out of bed, chairs, and cars, and take care of his or herself in general. Physiotherapy can improve strength as well as smoothness of walking, helping patients stay independent longer. Physiotherapists are also excellent at teaching patients compensatory measures for self-care.
3. Physiotherapy increases strength — Physiotherapy is an exercise-based therapy. Physiotherapy patients are assigned home exercise programs to perform daily. When a home program is adhered to and physiotherapy sessions are attended regularly, greater muscle strength results. Also, physiotherapy helps to loosen rigid muscles.
“Physiotherapists help you plan your treatment with exercises and activities to minimize risks as your condition progresses. Symptoms of Parkinson’s progress in different ways, so it is important to inform your health care providers of these changes so they can monitor and reassess your condition.” — Canadian Physiotherapy Association
If you live near Winnipeg and have Parkinson’s disease, consider contacting the friendly team at Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics to discuss how physiotherapy might benefit you.