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Investigating exercises for people living with Parkinson’s disease

This blog is written by Fleur Terrens, a physiotherapist within the Movement Disorders Program at Peninsula Health.

I am currently completing a research project on different types of pool based and land based exercises for people living with Parkinson’s disease on the Mornington Peninsula. I have recently been fortunate enough to be awarded the LSVT student small grant award to assist with getting this project up and running.

My project is looking at whether different types of pool or land exercises can improve balance and reduce the likelihood of falls within the Parkinson’s disease population.

More than 70% of people with Parkinson’s disease have falls. A third of these falls result in serious injury.

The burden of care of Parkinson’s disease in the final stages is on par with dementia and terminal cancer. There is also an unmeasurable social burden for those with Parkinson’s disease and their family.

Therefore it is very important to find the best physiotherapy options for people with Parkinson’s disease, so we can ensure that we are providing the best possible care.

 I am hoping that my research can help those living with Parkinson’s Disease stay active and live independently for as long as possible.

Stay tuned for further updates about how Fleur’s research is progressing in the coming months.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

The type, number, severity and progression of Parkinson’s disease symptoms vary greatly. Every person is affected differently. Some of the main symptoms are:

  • tremor (shaking)
  • rigidity (muscle stiffness)
  • bradykinesia (slowness of movement)
  • freezing (experiencing a sudden inability to move)
  • stooped posture
  • shuffling gait
  • micrographia (small handwriting)
  • apathy
  • fatigue
  • sleep disturbance
  • loss of sense of smell
  • depression
  • blood pressure fluctuation
  • constipation.