Many of the effects of progressive diseases that affect a person’s muscular system can be slowed down or improved with physical therapy. Diseases such as Parkinson’s, Freidrich’s Ataxia, as well as many others, may be progressive and degenerative, but exercises geared toward delaying the progression can improve a person’s chance of health.
Physical therapy as a medical intervention
While these diseases are generally incurable, physical therapy may increase positive outcomes for the patient, especially in the short term. Numerous studies have been done to assess the effectiveness of exercise and physical therapy, and these studies show that they are helpful, although not curative. However, they can increase the patient’s functionality at least for some period of time.
Patients can go to physical therapy session long term, but they can also do several sessions and then bring home the concepts and exercises. Here are some physical therapy exercises that patients can perform at home to maximize the benefits:
- Balancing – exercises that train the patient for proper balance can be crucial toward keeping him on his feet and walking as long as possible. Some ideas are:
- Standing with one foot in front of the other and holding that position for one minute.
- Standing on one foot and bending the other knee, like a flamingo, and holding that position for one minute.
- Walk with one foot directly in front of the other for twenty steps.
- Join yoga or Tai Chai groups, both of which help with balance.
- Stretching – stretching all of your limbs in the morning and at night keeps the blood flowing and your limbs elastic. These are some exercises that help:
- Sit on the floor and stretch your legs out as much as possible, as if you were trying to do a split. Lean your body to one direction as much as possible and extend your other arm over your head, giving your body a total stretch. Repeat on the other side.
- Stand straight and bend over your knees, extending your arms down as much as possible.
- Lie on your back , bend your knees, and pull each one into your chest one at a time.
- Core muscle strength – keeping your core strong allows you to have better control of your limbs and your mobilization.
- Planking gives your core excellent strength and control. There are so many ways to do this, pick the one that feels right for your body.
- Roll ups – lie flat on your back, and using your stomach muscles, slowly pull your body up to sitting.
- Take a Pilates course, which focuses on core muscle strength.
These and many other physical therapy exercises can help you stay fit and strong and stall any debilitating effects of degenerative disease. Consult with a physical therapist to determine the best regimen for your individual needs.
We have an excellent physical therapy program at The Alameda Center for Rehabilitation in New Jersey, where people who are dealing with the effects of progressive disease can learn exercises to take control.