General Practice 2022

Physiotherapy for Parkinson's: what it's for and exercise

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Physiotherapy for Parkinson's: what it's for and exercise
Physiotherapy for Parkinson's: what it's for and exercise

Physiotherapy is one of the types of treatments that can be indicated to help in the treatment of Parkinson's disease and has a very important role, as it provides an improvement in the general physical state of the patient, in addition to restoring and/or maintain independence in carrying out activities of daily living.

However, physical therapy does not exclude the need to take the medication indicated by the geriatrician or neurologist, being just a way to complement the treatment. Learn more about treating Parkinson's Disease.

Physiotherapy with light weights

Physiotherapy with light weights

What is physiotherapy for

Physical therapists in the treatment of Parkinson's disease should act as early as possible to:

  • Reduce limitations caused by stiffness, slow movement and postural changes;
  • Maintain or improve range of motion preventing contractures and deformities;
  • Improve balance, gait and coordination;
  • Increase lung capacity and general physical endurance;
  • Prevent falls.

It is important that the whole family is involved in the treatment of Parkinson's patients, so that activities are also encouraged at home, as prolonged periods of break can compromise goals.

Physiotherapy Exercises for Parkinson's

Exercises must be prescribed after an assessment made by the physical therapist, where short, medium and long-term goals will be established.

The most used types of exercises are:

  • Relaxation techniques: should be performed at the beginning of the session to reduce stiffness, tremors and anxiety, through rhythmic activities, involving a slow and careful balancing of the trunk and limbs, for example.
  • Stretches: should preferably be done by the individual with the help of a physical therapist, including stretching for the arms, trunk, shoulder/pelvic girdle and legs;
  • Active and muscle strengthening exercises: should preferably be performed sitting or standing, through movements of the arms and legs, trunk rotations, using sticks, elastic bands, balls and light weights;
  • Balance and coordination training: it is done through activities of sitting and standing, rotating the trunk in sitting and standing positions, tilting the body, exercises with changes in direction and at various speeds, grabbing objects and dressing;
  • Postural exercises: should always be performed seeking trunk extension and in front of the mirror so that the individual is more aware of the correct posture;
  • Breathing exercises: breathing is guided in times with the use of the stick for the arms, use of breathing through the diaphragm and greater respiratory control;
  • Facial mimicry exercises: encouraging movements of opening and closing the mouth, smiling, frowning, pouting, opening and closing the eyes, blowing a straw or a whistle and chew food a lot;
  • Gait training: you should try to correct and avoid shuffling gait by taking longer steps, increasing trunk and arms movements. You can mark the ground, walk over obstacles, practice walking forwards, backwards and sideways;
  • Group Exercises: Helps to avoid sadness, isolation and depression, bringing more stimulation through mutual encouragement and general well-being. You can use dance and music;
  • Hydrotherapy: exercises in water are very beneficial as they help reduce stiffness at a suitable temperature, thus facilitating movement, walking and posture changes;
  • Transfer training: at a more advanced stage, one should guide the correct way to move in bed, lie down and get up, move to the chair and go to the bathroom.

Generally, physiotherapy will be necessary for life, so the more attractive the sessions, the greater the dedication and interest of the patient and, consequently, the better the results obtained.

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