How can physiotherapy help patients with Parkinson’s Disease?
A couple of training interventions have proven to be effective in Parkinson’s Disease, include
1. Conventional PT, including a free range of motion and active exercises, have been found to improve the gait of PD patients by improving the walking ability, speed, and cadence
2. Treadmill training with beneficial effects on movement outcomes, including walking ability and speed
3. Strategy training, including cueing, was found to be effective in improving balance
4. Aerobic exercises (exercises improving oxygenation of muscles) help in balance and gait training, and Hydrotherapy (exercises performed in water have beneficial effects on fear of fall and balance)
5. Virtual reality and the use of computer-based games in a virtual reality environment have shown to increase patient motivation and engagement
6. Graded resistance exercise training increased the muscle strength of PD patients with sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass). Research has shown that 30 to 40 minutes of resistance exercise had positive effects on leg muscle strength, transfers and walking speed.
The last words
An exercise regimen should be selected for each patient after consulting a physiotherapist who will help design the appropriate treatment plan according to the disease stage and progress. As Parkinson’s Disease is chronic and progressive, patients should be equipped with the necessary skills to perform the exercises in home-based or community-based settings in the long run so that the therapeutic effects can be sustained.