Neurological Rehabilitation

Parkinson's Disease

How can physiotherapy treat Parkinson’s Disease? 

At River East Physiotherapy, we take an exercise-based approach to treating Parkinson’s Disease.  When working with clients, our physiotherapists draw on their university training in neurological rehabilitation, and some also have advanced training in Parkinson’s Disease completed with NeurofitBC.   

There is growing scientific evidence that exercise is an essential complement to the medical management of Parkinson’s symptoms.  For example, a recent Canadian medical guideline for treating Parkinson’s disease concludes: 

  • “A regular exercise regimen begun early has proven benefit;” and 
  • “Rehabilitation therapists experienced with Parkinson disease can help newly diagnosed patients, and others through all stages” (Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2019).

What services do you offer for clients with Parkinson’s? 

We offer four main services:  

  • One-on-one initial assessments with a physiotherapist, 
  • One-on-one subsequent treatments with a physiotherapist, 
  • Group classes led by a physiotherapist, and
  • Information sessions on Parkinson’s - contact us to organize a session for your organization. 

We also partner with U-Turn Parkinson's, a Parkinson's Wellness Centre in Winnipeg that provides group fitness classes and other services for people living with Parkinson's. 

I am living with Parkinson's Disease.  How often should I see a physiotherapist? 

For assessments, treatments, and group exercise classes, every individual is different.  You and your physiotherapist will decide together what is right for you.   

That said, it is generally recommended for people living with Parkinson’s to have a one-on-one treatment with a physiotherapist at least every six months.  This allows you to track your progress and adjust your exercise program accordingly.  It also allows your physiotherapist to provide an ongoing update to your physician, neurologist, or other members of your health care team on how you are progressing, to inform their treatment as well. 

For group exercise classes, this depends on your regular exercise program.  In general, people living with Parkinson’s require high intensity exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day, five days a week, in order to see improvements from exercise.  Group exercise classes, such as the Rock Steady Boxing classes lead by U-Turn Parkinson’s, are an excellent way for you to achieve the intensity required.  Plus, they’re fun! 

Our clinic also offers neurological rehab classes which are great for people living with Parkinson's.  Learn more about our in-clinic classes here.  

Source: American College of Sports Medicine and the Parkinson's Foundation

What is included in an initial assessment with a physiotherapist?

An initial assessment is a one-hour, one-to-one session with a physiotherapist.  With your consent, it will include: 

  • A conversation to help us understand how your condition is affecting you, your relevant medical history, and your goals. 
  • A series of objective tests to evaluate your coordination, balance, posture, walking, and day-to-day function. 
  • A new client package, including a customized exercise plan and community resources that may be helpful to you.  For example, the group exercise classes offered by U-Turn Parkinson’s are often a good fit for our clients’ exercise plans.  We may also refer you to other specialists, such as speech language pathologists or nutrition experts, or to other community organizations such as Parkinson’s Canada in Manitoba. 
  • A report to your family doctor, neurologist or other member(s) of your healthcare team. 


What is included in a subsequent treatment with a physiotherapist? 

After your initial assessment, a subsequent treatment involves a one-hour, one-to-one session with a physiotherapist. It is designed to track your progress towards your goals and adjust your exercise program accordingly. It may also include pain-relief techniques, hands-on treatment, and a progress report to your family doctor, neurologist or other member(s) of your healthcare team. 

Not sure if physiotherapy for Parkinson's Disease is right for you?  Call us to set up a FREE 15-minute phone consultation with one of our physiotherapists.

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