James Parkinson primarily mentioned about Parkinson’s disease in 1817 as ‘Shaking Palsy’. Parkinson’s disease is thought to be a result of the industrialised environment. However, a disease presented with shaking and lowered movement existed 5000 years ago. The most important predisposing factor is aging. People mostly start displaying symptoms after 60 years old. Nonetheless, 10% of the people find out they have Parkinson’s before the age of 50. This is commonly known as the genetic type, caused by a mutation.
Low dopamine levels induce brain damage in the specific region of the brain called black substance. Symptoms are progressed gradually, including motion-related problems like shaking, stifness, trouble with walking and staying balanced. Yet, there could be symptoms effecting the central nervous system, such as dementia, depression, anxiety, psychosis.It is crucial to raise awareness in the society because it is still possible for patients to retain a high quality life.
The disease is not considered to be fatal but its complications may be. There are different treatment options, as doctors often say ‘The practice of medicine treat the patient, not the disease’. There are drugs aiming to increase the dopamine levels in the brain. Those help the patient get rid of the movement-related symptoms. A surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation is also an option for regressing the complaints.
What is even more important than the medical interventions is the lifestyle changes. There is medical evidence suggesting patients benefit a lot from exercising. There are alternative theraphies including masage therapy, yoga, pet therapy as well, believed to increase the efficacy of conventional medical treatment.
As mentioned above, symptoms can be divergant for every patient, usually onsetting slowly and worsening through the years. There are four main symptoms. Those include shaking, slowness of action, problems with balance, and stifness.
- Shaking occur typically in hands, arms, and legs. It is not displayed during sleep or spontaneous movement, it is mostly ensued during rest.
- Slowness of movement presented in Parkinson’s is not a natural process of aging. It is known that it makes ordinary daily tasks much more diffucult than they usually are.
- Trouble with walking and coordination is often seen at later phases of the disease. Patients benefit a lot from exercising in terms of fighting this symptom in long haul.
- Stifness is the rigidity of the extremities that causes restriction of the motion. It generally onsets on one side of the body. As the disease progreses, it spreads to the whole body.
Except for the motion-related symptoms, people may also experience mood disorders , problem with cognition, behaviou, and thought.
Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s Patients
Physical therapy’s goal is to help the patient restore and flourish function. It includes exercises that maximises strenght and flexibility. For Parkinson’s patient special aged & disability care is needed.
Physical theraphy options could be:
- Music therapy
- Aerobic exercises
By attending these activities, patients not only improve their function but also increase their social support.