If you've ever heard of physiotherapy, it's likely been in relation to a physical injury, such as one resulting from a car accident or disability. Physiotherapy, however, is so much more than treatment of physical injuries, and can actually be extended to diseases such as Parkinson's.
What is Parkinson's Disease and How Is It Treated?
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder, which means it leads slowly to the breakdown of nerve cells in the part of the brain that affects movements – both intentional and unintentional.
While there is currently no cure for this disorder, there are treatment options available that help to slow down the progression of the disease as well as help the affected individual cope with the changes and adapt. Your doctor will work with you to find the proper medications that respond to your symptoms, but medication isn't the only treatment available. Other treatments include surgery and physiotherapy.
How Can Physiotherapy Help You?
Exercise is a great way for individuals with Parkinson's disease to slow the progression of the disorder and improve their daily living abilities significantly.
Following your diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, it's a good idea to get a referral to a physiotherapist immediately. It's likely that you're already showing signs of the disorder, such as slowing voluntary movements, unsteadiness, and stiffness in the torso and extremities. A professional physiotherapist will work with you to design a fitness program that not only plays to your current strengths, but also aims to improve upon your weaknesses. Physiotherapy is all about quality of life improvement and fitness – two things that are very important to patients with Parkinson's disease.
What Can You Expect from a First Physiotherapy Appointment?
If you've decided to meet with a physiotherapist, you probably have a number of questions and concerns running through your mind. Each physiotherapist's approach will be different, so it's a good idea to think of your first appointment as an interview – both for you and the physiotherapist.
The physiotherapist will likely take a thorough medical and family history, as well as perform a basic physical. This physical will include basic range of motion exercises, such as raising your arms above your head and rotating major joints (wrists and ankles). These simple exercises will give the therapist an idea of where you currently are, and help them to design a plan that's most effective for you.
To learn more about physiotherapy and how it can help you as a treatment option for Parkinson's disease, contact your doctor for a referral. While each physiotherapist will approach your treatment differently they all have one thing in mind, and that's your overall wellness and betterment.