Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. It belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which involves in the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain leading to the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. PD usually affects people over the age of 60. Early symptoms of PD are subtle and progression of which leaves the person unable to control the movements normally. The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person.
The four primary symptoms of PD are as follows:
tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
bradykinesia or slowness of movement
rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
postural instability or impaired balance and coordination
Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions. After diagnosis, treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure.
People with Parkinson’s disease should maintain an active lifestyle as much as possible which helps to improve their mobility, flexibility and balance. There is no “exercise prescription” that is right for every person with PD. For sedentary people, just getting up and moving is beneficial. More active people can build up to regular, vigorous activity. It helps to tone muscles and puts the underused and rigid muscles through a full range of motion. The effects of exercise on disease progression are not known, but it helps to boost the body strength leading to the person’s less disabled. Exercises such as walking, gardening, swimming, calisthenics, and using exercise machines enhances emotional well-being and general physical activity. Because PD is chronic and progressive, it is necessary to keep up exercise habits over long term. The below methods help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s diseases;
1. Flexibility (stretching) exercises
2. Aerobic activity
3. Resistance training or strengthening exercises
These elements are included in many types of exercise. Biking, running, yoga, dance, weight training, non-contact boxing and more all have positive effects on symptoms for people with Parkinson’s.
Treatment that targets flexibility, strengthening and cardiovascular conditioning aid the individuals with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease. Regular aerobic exercise such as walking prevents development of cognitive impairment in healthy elderly individuals and this can hold true in Parkinson’s disease as well. Rehabilitation treatment may involve:
Flexibility/stretching and strengthening exercises
Fitness (aerobic) activities
Swimming with different strokes
Hiking using walking sticks
Strategies to improve mobility
Strategies to improve self-care activities
Instruction in cognitive strategies
Speech training in swallowing as well as rate, control, respiration and phonation
The rehabilitation plan of care is developed specifically to the individual’s needs and goals defined by the patient and the evaluating therapist. Depending on the needs of the patients therapy may be one-two times a week and could last for several weeks.
Better management of Parkinson’s diseases are achieved through patient- centered care coordinated with the physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy