There has been much interest in the clinic this week regarding the article printed in Body and Soul on Nov 27th about the rise of Parkinson’s disease in Australia. I think it is great that awareness of the condition is being promoted in the broader print media because it is such a common neurological condition, and one that we see regularly in the clinic. It is however quite disheartening to read the article and see no reference to the significant benefits of exercise in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. If we are going to raise awareness of the condition, surely we should also be raising awareness about effective management stategies that are not just limited to medications.
It is widely known that any exercise is better than no exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease, and the earlier exercise is started the better. We also know from recent literature that the kind of exercise people do also makes a difference. Most importantly, it is the intensity and effort of the exercise that can make the biggest difference. In our clinic, people come in to exercise hard so they can continue to play hard. Exercise can have a profound impact on people’s lives and daily function, as well as overall quality of life and extended participation in work and social activities. There is some evidence emerging that exercise can also positively influence the dose of medication required and this means exciting time for future research.
Sadly, very few people with Parkinson’s disease are referred to a physiotherapist early on in the condition. It is usually when people start having difficulty with their mobility or falling that a physiotherapist may become involved in care. By this time, changes are much harder to make and require more intensive interventions.
I applaud the article for raising awareness of difficulties that people with Parkinson’s disease have and hope that in future as people become better educated, exercise is considered along the lines of medicine on the front line of defence against this progressive condition.
To read the full article visit this link: http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health+healing/news+features/parkinsons+disease+on+the+rise,15761