In Parkinson’s disease, brain cells die, causing signals to be transmitted from one brain cell to the other. How the disease is caused is not yet known.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s affects quality of life. The disease is very complex and can cause many different complaints. As you get older, the chance of developing Parkinson’s increases. Heredity plays a role in a small proportion of patients.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s
The disease can cause various symptoms. Symptoms of Parkinson’s are:
- Vibration of the hands, legs, chin or tongue
- Slower movements, difficulty in starting movements and the absence of automatic movements
- Muscle stiffness
- Problems with maintaining your balance and sometimes falling
- “Freezing” of the legs while walking, making it look like your feet are sticking to the floor
In approximately 75 percent of patients, these symptoms start on one side of the body. The other side will follow later. The complaints are often preceded by reduced smell, constipation, depression and sleep disorders.
Treatment of Parkinson’s
Until now, there are no drugs that can cure Parkinson’s disease or delay the disease process. There are, however, medicines that can reduce some complaints. People with Parkinson’s benefit from physiotherapy and, as the symptoms increase, also from occupational therapy and / or speech therapy.
What you can do yourself
If you have Parkinson’s disease, moving becomes increasingly difficult. Nevertheless, it is important to remain active and to ensure that your condition does not unnecessarily deteriorate further. Make sure that exercise becomes part of your daily routine; so you keep it full longer.
During the day you probably have good and less good periods. This has to do with the time at which you use your Parkinson’s medication. Use the good moments. You will then be less bothered by your illness, making exercise easier and more fun. It is best to exercise in different ways. One day you do exercises to strengthen your muscles and the next day you work on your endurance.
Doing two things at the same time can be extra difficult and risky for Parkinson’s patients. If you have a conversation while walking, you pay less attention to the way you move. This increases the chance that you will lose your balance and fall. Therefore try to do one thing at a time.
What physiotherapy can do
In Parkinson’s disease, physiotherapy treatment focuses on preventing, stabilizing or reducing problems while moving. Our physiotherapist helps you to build or maintain your condition and to improve specific daily activities. He or she can also help you gain control of pain and teach you how to breathe properly.
It is wise to go to one of our physiotherapists if you:
- Want to learn how to move as effectively as possible with this disease
- It is difficult to exercise regularly
- Have questions about (safe and appropriate) exercise
- Have problems with “normal” daily activities such as walking, getting up from a chair, turning around in bed or getting into the car
- Are afraid of falling or have (nearly) fallen
- You have pain
[AMC treatments – links]