Parkinson’s Disease

8 Things We Bet You Don’t Know About Physiotherapists

You have probably heard about physiotherapy and have a general idea about what it is. But how much do you know about physiotherapists? Here are some things you probably don’t know about us:

  1. Recovery is our focus, not maintenance. Our goal is to help you feel better as quickly as possible and get you on the road to recovery while minimizing the number of return visits.
  2. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to see a Physiotherapist – if you think you need to see a Physio, give a clinic near you a call and discuss your needs. If you have health insurance, be sure to check and see what your insurer requires and covers since most physiotherapy is not covered by OHIP.
  3. We are university educated healthcare professionals. In addition to completing an undergraduate degree, along with a Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy, we must pass a comprehensive oral and written exam that we only have three chances to pass – three unsuccessful attempts leads to choosing another career. After successfully acquiring our degree and completing the exam, then and only then can we legally use the title Physiotherapist. Be aware that some injury care providers offer physiotherapy but it’s important to note that someone who says they do physiotherapy is not necessarily a Physiotherapist.
  4. We know body mechanics really well! By observing some of your basic movements we can determine what exercises you need to do to become better at your sport, reduce injury and even recommend activities you can begin if you’d like to become more active and find your stride in a regular activity or sport.
  5. We are not just about helping you recover from aches and pains. We are also an integral part of recovery after heart surgery, we provide treatment for lung conditions (like chronic bronchitis, asthma, emphysema or pneumonia) and we can help manage neurological conditions (i.e. Parkinson’s and MS).
  6. Babies are our patients too! When babies are born with minor muscular issues such as torticollis, we can help. Torticollis is a condition of the neck that happens when a major muscle called the sternocleidomastoid becomes shortened or contracted. This shortening causes the baby’s head to be fixed in a tilted position. By gently stretching the affected muscle, educating parents about proper head bolster positioning and teaching at-home stretches and strengthening exercises, we can help speed up recovery and minimize long-term complications. Pediatric Physiotherapists can also assess your child to ensure he/she is meeting their physical developmental milestones.
  7. We can help new moms overcome diastasis recti, bladder incontinence, low back pain and pelvic floor disability. Many new moms feel that these postnatal concerns are something that they will have to live with or are normal. But there is nothing normal about incontinence or consistent pain, and a physiotherapist can help retrain and strengthen these weak muscles.
  8. Acupuncture can be part of a physiotherapy treatment plan as it helps promote healing, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of the affected area of the body. The practice of acupuncture is learned through a specialized training program completed after earning a Physiotherapy designation.

Parkinson’s Disease Can Be Managed

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, affecting mostly middle-aged and elderly people. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine. PD is known as a chronic, long-term condition that will require ongoing monitoring and management to maintain the patient’s quality of life.

Most common symptoms: tremor, slowness and stiffness, rigidity of the muscles, decreased initiation of movements and impaired balance that can lead to repetitive falls.

Other symptoms: fatigue, soft speech, depression, decreased motivation, constipation and sleep disturbances.

Usually the management of the disease is based on drug treatment and multidisciplinary care for the long term, slow and progressive symptoms.

Once the diagnosis of PD is made, the next step is to decide on a rehabilitation program that will prevent decline of the patient’s mobility, maximizing safety and independence.

A specialized Registered Physiotherapist can develop a treatment program, according to each patient’s needs. The program might include:

  • “cued” exercise training
  • treadmill training, gait re-education
  • balance
  • improvement of movement initiation
  • improvement of range of motion (BIG movements)
  • enhancement of aerobic capacity
  • improvement of functional independence, including mobility and activities of daily living
  • education on PD self – management

These all result in benefits. However, continued therapy is required to sustain benefits and gains. This is particularly important with Parkinson’s Disease patients since lack of initiation and motivation can be a barrier to rehabilitation.

You can live better and we can help!