Physiotherapy assessment/intervention: WHEN?


My mum lives abroad in Portugal and is presenting with Parkinsonism, she has a follow up appointment booked in 2 months when the neurologist will review her response to medication and I am guessing possibly diagnose. My question to those affected by Parkinsons here in the UK is when did you receive a physiotherapist assessment/involvement? Before/after diagnosis? The neurologist does not seem to be prioritising this. From what I read and believe I think a physiotherapist assessment and advice on what exercises may be helpful for my mum to do will be good, even though a concrete diagnosis has yet to be made.

I would be really interested to hear about people’s experiences. My mum’s symptoms are not impacting too much on her day to day, she’s a bit slower in movements, rigid in upper body, manual toothbrush is hard (!) but my feeling is that the earlier she may receive some tailored physio assessment/ exercises to do the better. Neurologist is saying just keep active- which I feel is a bit vague!

Many thanks in advance

Hi @izzyb, I was diagnosed a year ago but was not offered a physiotherapy assessment or actually any advice at all by my neurologist. I self referred to the local PD nurse 6 months later and was lucky that her team runs PD exercise classes which I was able to join. I do think it’s important to start targetted exercises early though so might be worth you and your mum trying to find out what is available locally without waiting for an official referral.

Hi izzyb,
I saw a physio after diagnosis. Get your mother exercising sooner rather than later. Yoga or as Clare, above, says specific PD moves. Neurologists sometimes only think of medication but the thinking now is that exercise is as important.

Hi no physio assessment offered at diagnosis - only when you start having serious mobility problems! Get your mum to get onto PD Warrior website for PD exercises she can do at home or find a local class. The exercises do work. There is also the social side of the classes and mutual support from attendees.

I am in the UK. I was referred to a NHS neurology physiotherapist by my GP, at my own request, before I had been diagnosed and when I was on the waiting list to see a neurologist. When I started physiotherapy I still had not been diagnosed with PD. The physiotherapist told me that the exercises were the same, whether I’d been diagnosed or not.

Because of the delays in seeing a neurologist on the NHS, I eventually opted to see a neurologist privately, and got diagnosed with PD about six weeks after starting physiotherapy. If I hadn’t done that, then it would have been at least another three months before I had a diagnosis, during which time I would have been doing physiotherapy.

I suggest your mum asks for a referral to a neurology physiotherapist immediately.