Physiotherapy management of Parkinson’s disease


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease and affects over 6 million people around the world. Both the prevalence and incidence of PD increase with age, peaking in the 70 and 80-year-old age groups. Evidence suggests there is a higher prevalence and incidence of PD in western countries compared with eastern countries, with men slightly more affected compared with women.

Because of our increasing ageing population, the number of people affected by PD is projected to double to over 12 million by 2040, placing increased burden on the healthcare system and society.

Physiotherapists play a vital role in the rehabilitation of people with PD, particularly in relation to the management of motor symptoms, promotion of regular physical exercise and prevention of secondary impairments and complications. In addition, physiotherapy may play a role in delaying disease progression.

In his Journal of Physiotherapy Invited Topical Review, Professor Marco Pang provides a comprehensive outline of the motor and non-motor impairments and secondary complications experienced by people with PD. He summarises the research evidence of different interventions commonly used in the physiotherapy management of PD along with implications for research and practice.

As Parkinson's Disease is chronic and progressive, patients need to be supported to perform exercises in home or community-based settings over the long term, to ensure the therapeutic benefits can be sustained. 

For more information and to read the entire Invited Topical Review article, click here.

Marco Pang is a Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and the Associate Director of the University Research Facility in Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is the editor-in-chief of the Hong Kong Physiotherapy Journal and the President of the Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association.

This blog is a Physiotherapy Research Foundation (PRF) initiative supported by Pain Away Australia, Australia’s No. 1 joint & muscle spray, and cream topical pain relief brand containing arnica and naturally derived active ingredients, and partner of the PRF.