According to a new British study, physical therapy does not help all the Parkinson’s disease patients. For the study, two groups of people suffering from the disease war chosen. One group received physical therapy and another one didn’t. The researchers concluded that physical therapy has too little to no effect when it comes to the patients who suffer from a mild or moderate form of the disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the nervous system that affects the motor system. The symptoms of early stage Parkinson’s disease include rigidity, shaking, difficulty walking and slowness of the movements. The symptoms of the advanced stage include dementia, depression, sleep issues, emotional and sensory problems. This disease is common in the older people, and it develops after the age of 50.
The researchers from the University of Birmingham stated that this doesn’t mean that the physical therapy in low doses doesn’t help at all the patients who were in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. They also said that more researches should be done in order to see what exactly is the form of therapy that helps patients with Parkinson’s disease at every stage.
Eric Ahlskog wrote an editorial that accompanied the research, saying that people should pay attention to the study’s findings, as the study didn’t focus on targeted therapy for certain problems. He also said that physical therapy when it comes to this disease should be focused only on specific issues that can benefit from it. Ahlskog mentioned that this shouldn’t influence people’s opinion on aerobics, which have been proved to be very efficient for the Parkinson’s disease patients, as they have a neuroprotective effect.
For the research, 762 patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease were used from October 2009 to June 2012. Of them, 381 received both occupational and physical therapy and the rest of them didn’t receive any form of therapy. For 8 weeks, the patients in the first group received an average of 4 hours of therapy. The occupational therapy was used for fatigue, sleeping, grooming and dressing. Physiotherapy was used for balance, posture, transfers and physical condition. The patients didn’t seem to respond to these therapies, but according to the researchers, the patients who have more severe forms of the disease might benefit from them. The therapies didn’t include aerobics.
The results of the study which revealed that physical therapy does not help all the Parkinson’s disease patients were published in the JAMA journal.
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