Rub It Better

Physiotherapy Specific To Parkinson's Disease

I write from first hand experience and my understanding according to my personal situation, following an almost sleepless night; Due to the onslaught of extensive muscle cramping and clamp down within the Back, with additional spasms, involuntary pulsations and painful discomfort extending into the limbs (now including my left-hand side) which in-turn has affected my posture, gait and general mobility.

Since trying to find a new Masseur Kinésithérapeute (following the retirement of the therapeutic experienced and expert hands that have looked after me over the last nine years) has initially turned out to be a very painful ordeal; and being the second time round that I have had 'bad experience at new hands' it really makes me wonder upon the levels in shared knowledge and understanding within this field in relation to Parkinson's Disease.

There has to be a simple reason as to why some Clinics have failed to work wonders, while others have not only alleviated my specific problems but also extended muscular vitality and general mobility; even to the point where a recommendation towards surgery and the need to wear a Back support on a daily basis has in the past been overcome.

In short, being set a series of exercises without any initial hands on examination and assessment into the physical condition of the individual back muscles, has not only exasperated but extended the problems associated with the muscle tissues prone to and already under unprecedented tension with the inherent cramping that is noticeably specific to my condition in Parkinson's Disease, and the physical permanent injury to the spine; that in combination, act upon the Sciatic nerves, subsequent posture, causing pains in the lower-back, across the upper pelvis and into the right hip, etc.

By way in analogy; A football player, having to take all the penalty shots with an injured ankle will suffer progressing agony; no doubt extending the size of his injury (while increasing the time necessary to attain any measure in healing comfort) the more shots he takes in that effort to win the grand final game; The affected areas increase as the measure of discomfort grows.

With Parkinson's Disease the fact of the matter is that some of the muscles are and or will become physically damaged; There is Injury! Injury that needs and requires full attention in therapeutic treatment first, before any kick-off!

Each and every muscle requires a good measure in equability and sufficient muscle tone to enable a smooth comfortable and balanced functioning that combine in providing good health and mobility.

The old saying “Rub it better” rings very true; For gentle massage appears to be the only thing that really revitalises and improves the circulation within the muscle tissues towards achieving optimum muscle tone prior to any useful exercise.

In my experience the action of massage is like a gentle warm up session; while applied heat treatments and or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) most certainly do not dislodge or shift any unwanted matter that has built up as a result of the contraction and tensions. In fact, to my knowledge, there are no short cuts that work.

With Parkinson's Disease, it is very much a hands on aspect before you start any stretching and or exercise; And if you cannot massage an area yourself to attain a good or balanced muscle tone then be kind to yourself and insist that the individual points of imbalance are addressed first, before you take the dog for its walk or stand at the sink to wash the dishes

9 Replies

  • Small point on muscle spasm and tension... I get it if I stop my magnesium supplement ...

  • Thanks, mag tabs has not worked that way before for me and the GP has prescribed a strong muscle relaxer and painkillers;

    I am just so upset, having gone from being supple enough to climb ladders to shuffling like a duck with painful immobility in a matter of a few hours!!

  • I am so upset (with the pain I am now in) to say; I am of the opinion that some physiotherapists I have seen need to retrain!

  • There must be benefits from massage otherwise there would not be so many forms available. I find the range of treatments on offer & the benefits quite bewildering. I have tried a number myself: deep tissue massage, Bowen technique, Reiki, Alexander etc (privately staffed & funded) & NHS treatments from physiotherapists which can vary according to the background of the practitioner. When first dxd 12 yrs ago I received a generous amount of specialist neuro-physiotherapy support. This gave me confidence & accelerated my motor progress. There then followed the wilderness years of staff cuts in the NHS which resulted in the withdrawal of the specialist hours, with each bout of pain being treated independently. Just last Autumn I was amazed to be offered unrationed neuro-physio treatment & what a difference it has made!!

  • Hi honeycombe3,

    Indeed, massage stimulates the muscle tissue and circulation to assist in getting rid of the waste products. This then frees up the muscle for more activity and once running the sweat glands will kick in. (Unfortunately there are no shortcuts as I mentioned before).

    The point is that exercise slows down progressionof PD and for some reduces the levels in medication required, but you cannot benefit if the muscles are clogged and frozen up with unwanted matter to the point of inactivity! Pushing tensioned muscle further just increases the damage of tissues.

    This morning I put on a back support which innstantly allows me to walk rather than doing a penguin shuffle!

    My overall posture has been changed by the bad practice incident encountered and I have not been able to pooh now for three days which is very uncomfortable and adding to the problems

    As to the various massage treatments, the 'laying on of hands with gentle manipulation' is the most effective - Heat bags and TENS on their own fail every time.

    Hopefully I will find a capable practitioner soon.

  • I do hope so.

    Is there a system of registration in France for each of the various disciplines? I have found these to be useful in locating practitioners of alternate therapies whose skills best suit my needs. 5 Elements acupuncture & hypnotherapy are good examples. There are a lot of charlatans about.

  • In France all the Masseur Kinésithérapeute are registered, but I think it is a matter of how they understand and interprate the patients needs and treatment, which comes down to their relative experience in dealing with all the various ailments that exist: And as mentioned before, this can only be done hands on, feeling the condition and muscle tone of each muscle.

    I have just returned from a session with another Masseur Kinésithérapeute and while there is still a long way to go to readdress my current situation, I managed to avoid the muscles being baked with a heat blanket which aggrevates the siuation / muscles in concern; And I hope things may now start going in the right direction.

  • For those who may doubt that Massage has a very important role to play in alleviating PD consider the aspect raised in this link;

    Help rid, speed up the movement of toxins from vour body (toxins peculiar to your situation) and you are half way there

    ;) :D

  • Very pleased to I have found two new Masseur Kinésithérapeutes who understand PD and things have started to improve :)

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