Parkinson’s Disease

Rachel Allen is a chartered physiotherapist at Mid West Physiotherapy, Limerick, with a clinic interest in the management of Parkinson’s Disease.

What Is It?

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition that affects people’s movements. It is caused by a decrease in a chemical called dopamine in the body. It is not known why some people get this drop in dopamine. People with Parkinson’s may have a tremor; difficulty walking, stepping or balancing; or slower movements. Some people experience “freezing” or “festering” gait, especially when first standing or in tight spaces.

How Can We Help?
(what treatments are involved)

The aim of physiotherapy is to improve your strength, mobility, movements, balance, and gait. Treatments may include supervised and unsupervised balance exercises, falls prevention and home exercise programmes.

Benefits of Physiotherapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Physiotherapy has been shown to help with walking speed, endurance, and freezing of gait for some people with Parkinson’s. Research has also shown some people’s balance and mobility improved with physiotherapy. A lot of research has created Parkinson’s-specific programmes that physiotherapists use to help people. Physiotherapists can also help with tips and strategies to help with other symptoms of Parkinson’s, and the possible side effects of medications.

What to Expect

At the initial appointment, a physiotherapist will ask you questions to learn more about you and what your goals are. These might include questions about your diagnosis, past medical history, falls history, and current situation. The physiotherapist will also ask what activities you like and your goals will also be discussed. We may also assess things like your strength, walking speed, balance, and flexibility. This will help guide your individualised treatment plan. You may be given a home exercise programme to complete.


Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews