Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder caused due to lack of dopamine secretion from the basal ganglia. Parkinson’s disease mostly affects older people but can also occur in younger adults. The symptoms are the result of the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls body movement.It is a progressive disorder that initiates with a negligibly noticeable tremor of a finger and spreads to other parts of the body. Although tremors are the commonly recognized symptoms of Parkinson’s, it is not the only sign of the disease.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease:
- Rigidity or reduced flexibility of muscles
- Reduced capability of normal muscle relaxation
- Uneasiness in hands and feet due to stiffness
- Loss of balance
- Leaning forward or backward may cause a fall
- Light-headedness or prone to blackouts
- Starts off as an unnoticeable shaking of hands and spreads gradually to the arms, head, voice and other parts. This tremor is different from essential tremor as it affects the hands when moving or while doing any work.
- In early stages it appears on one side of the body which later is seen on the other side as well.
- Not all Parkinson’s patients suffer from this.
- Change in gait
- Inability to swing arms normally while walking.
- Taking short and petite steps while walking.
- Difficulty start walking and stooping
- Problem devising turns and corners
- Slow movement and trouble with repetitive movements
- Problems with simultaneous movements
- Difficulty in speech
- Soft or slurry speech
Parkinson’s disease and physical therapy
Parkinson’s disease, although not curable, can be controlled upto a certain stage by slowing its progress with the help of a well-planned treatment. It can be managed with the help of neurologists, occupational therapists, counselors, speech therapists and physiotherapists.
The goal of this treatment process is as follows:
- To maintain an overall quality of life
- To enhance mobility and function
- To increase flexibility of muscles
- To control tremor and also reduce it
- To correct posture and gait
- To regain balance and other skills
- To preserve mental awareness
Physiotherapy and Parkinson’s disease
Physiotherapy assessment can be helpful in gauging the progress of the disease and hence inhibiting it in order to get a better control and manage any further problems faced due it. Neuro-physiotherapy is the best choice of treatment to cope with the disorder and improve quality of life. Physical therapy includes:
- PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation)
- Balance training to regain proper body balance
- Gait training to improve movement and walking abilities
- Strengthening exercises
Physical therapy helps compensate for alterations caused in the body by exercising to strengthen and loosen muscles and relieve pain.
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