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  • Writer's pictureDeb Banning

Parkinson's Disease & Neurophysiotherapy

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

Firstly, let's understand what Parkinson's Disease actually is.

What is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of one of the areas of the brain that affects movement. This area is called the Substantia Nigra, it is here that neurons (nerve cells of the brain) that produce a neurotransmitter called Dopamine are reduced. A neurotransmitter is a chemical substance produced within the brain to assist with the transfer of signals from one neuron to another neuron. This is how the brain relays information.

The production of Dopamine is important for relaying information including movement. Subsequently, loss of these Dopamine producing neurons and decreased Dopamine in the Substantia Nigra causes problems with movement and other symptoms. The reduction of these neurons occurs over time and subsequently, movement is more affected as the disease progresses.

What Are The Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's Disease symptoms include:

  • Muscle rigidity: typically when a limb is moved, it will feel stiff or fluctuate between feeling easier and harder to move.

  • Bradykinesia: which is decreased speed of movement.

  • Tremors: typically seen at rest, and is usually a slow and rhythmic tremor of a hand or foot.

  • Freezing: difficulty initiating movement, ie: taking the first step when walking.

  • Decreased size of movement: ie: taking small steps when walking.

  • Difficulty with speech: ie: including quieter voice and slower speech.

  • Difficulty with writing and micrographia (writing small).

  • Fatigue

  • Pain

  • Changes in posture.

  • Changes in cognition and emotion.

  • Gastrointestinal changes including constipation.

  • Altered urine frequency and continence.

  • And several other symptoms…

These symptoms affect people’s day to day activities and quality of life.

Treatment for Parkinson's Disease

Medication to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is typically prescribed. These medications work in several ways including providing Dopamine, preventing the breakdown of Dopamine, preventing degradation of Dopamine producing cells and improving neurons' ability to receive Dopamine. Medication is typically provided orally but surgical intervention may also be used. Allied health professionals can also treat aspects of the disease, including: Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Neuro-Physiotherapy.

How Can a Neurological Physiotherapist Help with Parkinson's Disease?

Neurophysiotherapy is physiotherapy performed by Neurological Physiotherapists who are specially trained to diagnose and treat people with movement and function disorders that have originated from problems within the body's nervous and neuromuscular system. These disorders affect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Please read our blog titled 'What is Neurological physiotherapy? What is Neuro Physio?' if you would like to learn more.

A Neurological Physiotherapist is a specially trained Physiotherapist who has a high level of understanding of Parkinson's Disease. A Neuro Physio will work with you, your family and your support workers to help you to:

  • improve initiation of movement, speed of movement and also increase the size of movement

  • get in and out of bed, stand up from sitting down, walk, and reduce falls risk

  • learn specific exercises and stretches to maintain posture and range of movement

  • improve balance and mobility and reduce falls risk

  • use mobility and transfer aids

  • maintain breathing function

  • communicate with your family and carers about the support that you need

  • educate your family and carers about Parkinson’s Disease

  • maintain your independence for longer.

A Neurophysiotherapist can help you achieve your goals with a tailored Physiotherapy Treatment Plan specifically relevant to your specific needs. A Neuro Physio is experienced in working with Neurological disabilities and knows how to help you manage your condition as effectively as possible.

A Neurophysiotherapist will take a tailored approach that best addresses the impairments or issues that you personally experience with Parkinson's Disease. A Neurophysiotherapist is trained to understand and help manage the way Parkinson's Disease may be impacting your daily life.

A Neurophysiotherapist can work alongside you and your family and other healthcare providers to assist you with targeted exercises for a specific limb or a broader muscle group and it can be delivered at your home, a gym or swimming pool, or somewhere else in the community depending on your needs.

Personalised Treatment Aligned to Achieving Your Goals

If you or someone you love has Parkinson's and you are considering getting physiotherapy, it is vitally important to ensure that you engage a Neurological Physiotherapist to support effective treatment. A good Neuro Physio will take the time to understand your goals and what you'd like to achieve and integrate this into a personalised physiotherapy Treatment Plan.

Body Agility Can Help You

Body Agility are nationally registered NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) providers of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise physiology and personal training. Experience the Body Agility difference and experience exceptional care and customer service. We take the time to understand your NDIS Goals, to fully understand your condition, and to create a tailored Treatment Plan to help you achieve your goals.

What are YOUR goals? We can help. Contact us now, we have capacity to provide services to you immediately, right across the broader Perth region with home visits, or at one of our clinics / gyms or studio - or via video consultation (telehealth). We'd be delighted to hear from you.


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