Group Exercise for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Moving away from tradition is considered an exciting thing within the realm of physical therapy. Especially now, we have more evidence geared towards outcomes of treatment and their overall effectiveness. One innovative idea is that individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) need a different type of treatment than standard physical therapy.

Anna Knorr discusses an idea she had about the management of people diagnosed with PD during some of her clinical experiences. Anna discusses how the use of group exercise classes (including but not limited to Tango, balance training, etc.) in conjunction with treatment from a physical therapist can be used to increase a patients functional outcomes. She also touches on the benefits of having a new and exciting treatment activity to help patients with the psychological aspects of their disease.

We as physical therapists are psychologically inclined when treating patients because of the amount of time we are spending with them. We are known for this! What I want to point out is that we often do not use this to our advantage in treatments.

I think we can offer more to our patients by forming a relationship with them. What this allows us to do is know our patient so well that we can determine best treatment. That was Anna’s point. Figuring out what treatments most positively affect a person’s overall health. This includes measures of functionality we use day-to-day, psychological measures, and other things like nutrition. Offering a program like Anna is discussing addresses all those aspects of health.

Group Exercise for Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

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Manual Therapy and Therapeutic Exercise in the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain

Arizona Core Ambassador, Daniel Strauss, conducted a riveting presentation. It explored how manual therapy in conjunction with therapeutic exercise could benefit those patients diagnosed with chronic neck pain. Neck pain can be very complicated and often has many contributing factors.

Most interestingly, his presentation found different outcomes for short-term and long-term benefits for a treatment protocol using both manual therapy and therapeutic exercise. This is an interesting concept; it does play into potential outside factors contributing to neck pain. It raises an interesting question, one I which I hope can be answered in the future.

Why does manual therapy in conjunction with therapeutic exercise in the long-term have the same treatment outcomes as therapeutic exercise alone, but are different in the short-term?

Manual Therapy and Therapeutic Exercise in the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain

Pedaling for Parkinson’s

Mikaila Foster, working with other student physical therapists, came up with a very unique way to treat a patient. Hint: it involved pedaling.

I began cycling while I lived with my previous college roommate. He was a member of the NAU triathlon team for a period of time, and has ran multiple marathons. Because of him I really started to appreciate what cycling could offer to my own health. A very close friend of mine actually took time to help me build a bike from the ground up. It is one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had.

I do not claim to be an expert by any means, but I do feel that I have some knowledge on the subject. My knowledge of cycling and my genuine passion for it predispose me to seek out research and treatment practices that pertain to it.

Enter: Pedaling for Parkinson’s.

The reason this is great, similar to therapeutic climbing and some other posts coming up, this type of therapy is fairly new and exciting! In essence, the project is centered around the idea that repetitive motions, such as pedaling, can generate the amount of repetitions  necessary for neural adaptation. It goes without saying that the current amount of repetitions are vastly lower than what should and could be offered. Unfortunately, our healthcare system is not efficient enough to offer patients the most beneficial practices all of the time.

What Mikaila and the other SPTs did was just short of extraordinary. She is proposing a new and unique exercise treatment for individuals with Parksinson’s. It’s an aspect of therapy that many have not considered as a viable option. I love what they did and I know I will consider it as a treatment option, especially because of my own positive experiences with cycling.
Pedaling for Parkinson’s

Interventions in Treating Patients with Low Back Pain

Sara Patterson, a second year classmate of mine, presented on the effectiveness of traction versus manipulation as a treatment for low back pain (LBP).

This hatches an interesting debate. I personally would love to see more evidence comparing the two as Sara emphasizes in her presentation.

Interventions in Treating Patients with Low Back Pain

Therapeutic Climbing for LBP

Tori Orlowski, a second year in my class presented on the therapeutic effects that climbing could have for people diagnosed with Low Back Pain (LBP). 

The theorized traction and postural muscle strengthening has very possibly real effects. I think it creates a new and exciting experience for our patients within a controlled environment. 

What makes climbing more interesting as a possible treatment, is that it can create a culture of competition. What patient doesn’t want to improve? When Tori was asked about the cost of a climbing system, she said it would be relatively cheap. The most expensive thing would be the hand holds. 

Tori did a great job introducing and selling a new possible treatment technique to me; I hope you all take the time to decide for yourself!

Therapeutic Climbing for LBP

Providing Care with a Language Barrier

One of my classmates, Sarah Bade, gave a wonderful presentation about working with a patient when a language barrier is present.

Before you read the presentation, I will emphasize that this was done well. Sarah explored a topic that most people inherently know, but often do not have the resources or knowledge to do anything about. It is simple: when treating a patient who speaks a different primary language than yourself, it is better to have another healthcare professional as a translator. I failed to realize that it truly affects treatment.Incorporating more bilingual providers into the system may seem like a daunting task, but this could change the shape of not only our profession, but of healthcare as a whole.

Personally, I have worked with this patient intermittently throughout the last year. As a person of Hispanic decent with very little knowledge of Spanish,  I can confidently say that communication was strained without my Spanish-speaking classmates present. I agree with Sarah and her conclusion. I think we as practitioners should strive to provide the best care for the people we are serving, any way we can.

Lastly, although this entire presentation is about a language barrier, I want to stress the capabilities we all have. As physical therapists we often have the skills necessary to interact, communicate, and even motivate people psychologically. I think these skills, often ignored or forgotten, are still our biggest assets. I want to say that although  language barriers can be present, we can still have a relationship with our patient that fosters the same genuine care for them and their diagnoses.

Providing Care with a Language Barrier