Parkinson’s disease is the second most widely affected neurological disorder that affects people in the world, after Alzheimer’s disease. Parkinson’s disease affects the nerves and is caused when the dopamine generating cells die off. The disease results in shaking, rigidity and slowness of movement, causing difficulty with walking. Later on, the disease affects the mind too, causing behavior issues and mostly resulting in dementia. Parkinson’s disease has been linked to genetics, but nothing substantial has been able to prove it. Almost anyone can get it. Even personalities like Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox have been inflicted with the disease.
Clinical methods of treatment have been developed by the creation of medication imitating the drug dopamine. However these are mildly effective. Since Parkinson’s disease affects one’s motor functions, living a normal life is difficult. Can you imagine what it means to hold a spoon or a pen? With Parkinson’s, your finger will vibrate so badly that you will have trouble feeding yourself or the pen will just scribble lines across the paper. Indeed, it will be difficult to live an ordinary life.
However, this is where physiotherapy is able to help you. With the correct physical training from a physiotherapist and/or kinesiologist, Parkinson victims can improve their quality of life.
Movement, any sort of movement whether holding a pen or sitting and getting out of a chair, when you are afflicted with Parkinson, these simple tasks will become difficult. A physiotherapist will show you how to experience muscle relation and diaphragmatic breathing with axial exercises which will result in you being able move your torso more easily. You will also be given help in learning postural control.
Improve Muscle Strength
Those affected by Parkinson’s disease are most likely to feel a massive reduction in their muscles strength. In fact, they’ll find that they are prone to weakness and muscle fatigue, especially in the lower limbs – the legs. Strength training directly improves the muscle condition of Parkinson’s victims and automatically enhances mobility. The physiotherapist will ensure that there is a high level of stretching done and at the same, it does not take too much of an effort as it will cause fatigue.
At least 66% of Parkinson’s victims experience falls and 46% experience recurring falls. With motor functions affected, it is difficult for Parkinson victims to maintain their balance. A physiotherapist or kinesiologist will help a victim regain their sense of balance through a combination of exercises, which will help strengthen postural control too. An exercise regime should have lots of somatosensory and musculoskeletal activity.
Also, a physiotherapist or kinesiologist will help make sure that your living environment is as fall free as possible.
Improve Physical Conditioning
When you are a Parkinson’s victim, you will experience severe loss of muscles and even cardio-respiratory problems. Aerobic exercises as simple as walking or swimming are great ways to help you battle your motor function limitations. The advantage of aerobic exercise is that you don’t need to purchase any heavy equipment or even stay at a clinic.
For those of you that are experiencing the effects of parkinsons you will know that a major problem for you is your ability to walk and maintain your balance. Often you will need walking assistance such as a cane or a walker. Physiotherapists and kinesiologists may suggest the use of a treadmill to assist you in improve your gait, but their are a wide array of activities that when support is given, can help you to improve your gait.
As a victim of Parkinson’s disease, your motor functions will be the first to be effected, however later on your mind can also be subjected to some form of Parkinson effects. Exercise doesn’t only work your muscles, but also exercises your brain. This will help to slow or prevent any behavioural problems from occurring due to your disease.
Parkinson’s is not an easy disease to live with, but with physical therapy and a good rehabilitative team you can maintain a high quality of life longer.