Parkinson’s Disease Physical Therapy
In parkinson’s disease, there is breakdown of certain nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Normally, these neurons produce a chemical called dopamine which sends signals to the part of brain which controls movement. It helps in smooth execution of any desirable movement. When there is breakdown of the neurons, there is reduced level of dopamine which causes abnormal brain activity leading to signs of parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder which means that it worsens over time but the process is gradual and slow. The exact cause of breakdown of nerve cells is not known, however, a lot of research is being done to look for the answer. Below are listed some of the factors that can lead to parkinson’s disease:
- Genetic mutations
- Environmental triggers such as exposure to certain toxins
- Presence of lewy bodies
The signs and symptoms of parkinson’s disease may vary from individual to individual. Symptoms may begin on one side and often remain worse on that side even if they have begun to affect both sides.
Primary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Tremors – Usually begin in a limb, often in fingers or hand. There is rubbing of thumb and forefinger such that the tremors appear as pill-rolling. The characteristic of parkinson’s disease is tremors at rest.
- Rigidity – Stiffness of muscles may occur in any part of the body which can limit range of motion and can cause pain.
- Bradykinesia – There is slowness of voluntary movement and difficulty executing simple tasks such as sitting down, standing or walking. This occurs because of delayed transmission of signals from brain to the muscles.
- Parkinson’s gait – A characteristic walk seen in persons with parkinson’s disease. The gait involves shuffling with shoulders drooped, head down, leaning backwards or forwards unnaturally without arm swing. There is difficulty initiating walk and freezing mid-stride is commonly seen.
- Impaired posture and balance – The posture may be stooped with poor balance owing to loss of reflexes that help in maintaining balance and posture.
- Speech changes – The speech may become slurred or soft and quick or people with parkinson’s disease may hesitate before talking. Speech may become more of a monotone.
Secondary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Sialorrhoea – excessive salivation
- Excessive sweating
- Loss of bowel/bladder control
- Loss of intellectual capacity
- Symptoms of anxiety, depression or isolation
- Cramped handwriting
Parkinson’s disease can be diagnosed on the basis of neurological examination including evaluation of symptoms and their severity. To further diagnose the presence of Parkinson’s disease, a trial test of drugs (levodopa/L-dopa) may be given to the patient. If the patient’s symptoms improve after administration of drug, the diagnosis of parkinson’s disease is confirmed. CT or MRI scans of brain may also be done to rule out other diseases that have symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.
Treatment for Parkinson’s disease – Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured per se, however symptoms of the disease can be dramatically controlled by medications. In some cases Deep – Brain stimulation surgery may be advised. Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy and lifestyle changes are recommended by doctors for the management of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease poses significant challenges not only for people with the disease but also for their family members and caregivers as well. Physical therapy and Rehabilitation for Parkinson’s disease aims to improve patient’s ability to move in a better way, think clearer and speak louder.
Parkinson physical therapy can improve walking, balance and overall functional ability and also slows down the progression of the disease. Physical therapy treatment for parkinson’s disease in the form of moderate to vigorous exercise must begin immediately upon diagnosis and should be continued throughout the course of the disease. As an aerobic exercise such as walking prevents development of cognitive impairment in elderly, the same is seen in case of Parkinson’s disease as well.
OVERSEAS REHABILITATION CARE (ORC) is the most trusted provider of Rehabilitation services in India in association with best rehabilitation experts. At ORC, our rehabilitation experts strive to provide end-to-end care for the rehabilitation of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Whether the patent is in early stage of the disease or at a later stage, our comprehensive rehabilitation programs help patients make the most out of each rehab session. It is made sure that each rehabilitation program is made as per the specific needs of each patient. The patients are taught the strategies and techniques to deal with the multiple effects of Parkinson’s disease such as tremors, rigidity, gait disturbance etc that can be applied in patient’s daily activities.
At ORC associated clinics, we have a unique interdisciplinary treatment approach that combines physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to provide a collaborative treatment plan which is customized as per the unique needs of an individual. People with parkinson’s disease are being provided with an intensive and highly specific therapy across our rehabilitation sessions.
- Physical therapy – Our physical therapy programs are aimed to improve balance, gait, aerobic activity, initiation of movement, flexibility, increase independence and provide training for prevention of fall along with other safety measures.
- Occupational Therapy – Works on maintaining activities of daily living at home and work place along with maintaining relationships, encouraging self care and independence and making cognitive assessments with providing suitable interventions.
- Speech and Language therapy – Aims to improve loudness, intelligibility of speech, enhance methods of communication and help in swallowing or reducing risk of aspiration.
With a multidisciplinary treatment approach, our aim is to provide patient-centered treatment after a thorough evaluation of patient with parkinson’s disease so as to help him with:
- Improving flexibility with stretching and strengthening exercises
- Improving fitness with aerobic exercises
- Enhancing mobility such as walking, standing up from chairs, reducing risk of falls
- Improving hand-writing
- Managing stress
- Give speech training in swallowing
- Help in self – care activities strategically
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