A recent study published in the BMJ has shown that giving physiotherapy to people with Parkinson’s is effective. According to a systematic review of studies in the field physiotherapy is effective, at least in the short term, for people with Parkinson’s Disease. The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of physiotherapy compared with no intervention in patients with Parkinson’s disease. 39 trials of 1827 participants met the inclusion criteria, of which 29 trials provided data for the meta-analyses. Significant benefit from physiotherapy was reported for nine of 18 outcomes assessed.
Though the number of trials has increased during the past five years, helping to support calls for physiotherapy to be an integral part of programmes designed to manage the condition, the evidence base that might support physios’ involvement has traditionally been weak, they suggest. This partly explains why relatively few patients with Parkinson’s were referred to physios in the past. Another reason was the ‘poor availability’ of physiotherapy services.
The study concludes by saying that Physiotherapy has short term benefits in Parkinson’s disease. A wide range of physiotherapy techniques are currently used to treat Parkinson’s disease, with little difference in treatment effects. Large, well designed, randomised controlled trials with improved methodology and reporting are needed to assess the efficacy and cost effectiveness of physiotherapy for treating Parkinson’s disease in the longer term.
Read more about Parkinson’s Disease on Physiopedia (article currently under development by the APPDE)