Millions of pounds wasted providing physiotherapy for Parkinson's

A Birmingham University study found that current physiotherapy and occupational therapies do not improve quality of life for people with Parkinson's.

A recent study from England involving physical therapy, occupational therapy, and individuals with Parkinson Disease (PD) has generated plenty of dramatic headlines about physical therapy's supposed "ineffectiveness."

The study in question, published in JAMA Neurology, aimed to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of individualized physical and occupational therapy for individuals with PD by comparing outcomes at baseline and 3 months among 381 participants who received treatment with an equally sized control group that didn't.

Researchers found little to no difference in outcomes primarily based on the Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living (NEADL) scale, and secondarily based on the Parkinson Disease Questionnaire-39 and the EruoQol-5D, writing that "physiotherapy and occupational therapy were not associated with immediate or medium-term clinical improvements in [activities of daily living] or quality of life in mild to moderate PD."

Even though these treatments do not result in advantages in the high quality of daily life, the use of low-dose, patient-centered, goal-directed physiotherapy and occupational therapy in patients in the early stages of PD could be really helpful. Future research should explore the development and testing of more structured and intensive physical and occupational therapy programs in patients with all stages of PD.

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