Parkinson's disease treatment | Circle Rehabilitation, Birmingham | Circle Health Group Skip to main content

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Parkinson’s disease treatment

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. This means that parts of the brain become damaged over time, which can severely affect a person’s quality of life in a variety of ways. Common symptoms include shaking and stiffness.

Parkinson’s progresses gradually, getting worse over time. The cause is unknown, though we know it can occasionally run in families, and it’s more common as you get older. Damage to nerve cells causes various problems both physical and psychological.

For many people, a rehabilitation programme for Parkinson’s disease, incorporating treatments including physiotherapy and counselling, can significantly improve your independence and quality of life. Living with Parkinson’s is never easy. At Circle Rehabilitation, we’re here to help you however we can.

Parkinson’s disease often develops slowly over a long period of time. For most people, the main symptom and signs of Parkinson’s will be tremors, commonly starting in one arm or leg and gradually spreading. At first, this tremor might be suppressed when engaged in activity or when sleeping.

Other ways people are affected by Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Tremors: Also described as shakiness, this often occurs in one arm or one leg at a time, spreading over time
  • Rigidity: This can be experienced in the muscles of the arms or legs, making smooth or steady movement a challenge
  • Bradykinesia (slowed movement): In addition to rigidity, people with Parkinson’s can find that their movements are slowed. This can cause a feeling of instability and increase the risk of falls
  • Speech and swallowing: Parkinson’s can sometimes affect a person’s ability to speak and swallow, such as by causing a weak, quiet voice. It can be really beneficial for patients with such problems to work with a speech and language therapist to strengthen their movements and voice
  • Cognitive decline: Progressive versions of the condition can cause cognitive decline, leading to dementia

Every person with Parkinson’s will be different. Here at Circle Rehabilitation our multidisciplinary team can tailor your physical therapy programme to your individual needs and aims.

At Circle Rehabilitation Centres, our Parkinson’s treatment is targeted at reducing muscle rigidity and slowness of movement. Treatment is not very effective at controlling tremors.

We can also prescribe from a spectrum of medications that boost the level of dopamine in the brain (which is depleted by Parkinson’s).

Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation is more effective the earlier on you are in the progression of the disease. (The advance from initial diagnosis to severe disability typically takes 15 years.)

Aims of Parkinson’s rehabilitation

The objective of Parkinson’s disease rehabilitation is to improve your quality of life, promote your independence and support you and your family members through a difficult time.

A combination of rehabilitation and pharmacological treatment maximizes your opportunities for independent living, such as by maintaining their job and hobbies, and continuing to drive. The multidisciplinary team at Circle Rehabilitation offers timely intervention in a supportive environment.

Specialist equipment in a purpose-built facility

Circle’s Rehabilitation Centres were specially designed to facilitate recovery and rehabilitation programmes for problems such as Parkinson’s disease.

Our cutting-edge Nordic Health equipment, rare to find in the UK, can be used to measure very precisely spinal movements (often affected in Parkinson’s disease) and to improve their range and amplitude.

Other machines, including the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, Hydro Physio aqua treadmill, rowing machine and MOTOmed exercise bike allow Parkinson’s patients the opportunity to improve their general fitness in a controlled and safe environment without the risk of falling.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, people are able to move less and big movements become harder. We try to encourage these bigger movements such as stepping, throwing, stretches and so on. Circle Rehabilitation’s physiotherapy gym, stocked with equipment such as therabands, gyms balls, ladders and cones, has a big open floorspace which is ideal for this.

Dual tasking (eg doing another task while walking) is a key aspect of Parkinson’s rehabilitation and this can be incorporated into the programme at Circle using the recreational room and therapy kitchen. Patient’s timetables will allow continued practice of skills throughout the day.

We also have timetabled recreational activities including rehabilitation nutrition, movement to music and mindfulness.

Meet our team of Parkinson’s specialists

Educating patients about the condition in the early stages after diagnosis is essential. At Circle Rehabilitation, you’ll have access to a diverse multidisciplinary team including a neurological rehabilitation consultant, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists and dietitians. There are also opportunities to link with the wider clinical team at our hospitals as required.